2018 Volunteer of the Year: Cheney Hu
Cheney Hu has been a Ronald McDonald House volunteer at Texas Children’s Hospital since 2008. During this time, he’s given over 910 hours of service, most of which on Friday nights after working his full-time job! He is very dependable, always on time, and willing to help out in any way he can. Even in the midst of dealing with Harvey-related damage to his home, he’s continued to faithfully give his time and energy to Ronald McDonald House. He serves our families with compassion and always has a smile when he greets them. Cheney’s calm, friendly disposition brings peace to even the most stressful situations. Truly a team player, he picks up substitute shifts frequently, even with short notice when last minute cancellations occur.
Cheney also volunteered to be a mentor for incoming volunteers for the past year since the volunteer trainer program’s debut. While sharing his shift with new volunteers on many occasions, he takes care to ensure new volunteers feel welcomed, knowledgeable, and equipped for success. The attention he gives to new volunteers is especially helpful during this season of growth at RMH TCH. He has never complained to staff about hosting an abundance of trainings– in fact, he’s commented on what a privilege it is and how glad he is that we have so many people interested in volunteering. It is a pleasure to announce Cheney Hu as RMH Houston Volunteer of the Year!
Volunteers of the Month
Holcombe House – Jordan Jackson
Jordan is an energetic volunteer that always comes in with a smile on her face and ready to get to work. She makes an effort to form relationships with both the families in the House and the other volunteers she works with. She is always eager to help out wherever she can and has become the volunteer leader of her shift, with new volunteers looking to her for direction. Jordan has been wonderful to get to know and this is why we’ve chosen her to be our December volunteer of the month!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Laura Blohm
Laura has been such a wonderful addition to our team of volunteer trainers, and she is a great leader and role model to new volunteers. She is always willing to the help with anything asked of her, and we can always depend on her to be here for her shifts. She has such a warm personality and greets all families with a smile. We can count on her to make sure that the families have all they need to ensure their stay as comfortable as possible. We’re thankful for Laura and her dedication to Ronald McDonald House Houston!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Andrea Parker
Andrea is our go-to person every time there is a special activity or need someone to cover at the last minute on weekends and holidays! Her flexibility and eagerness to serve the patients and families at RMHH is admirable. Andrea has such an amazing and loving heart for the families. Everything she does comes with a smile and words of encouragement; the families love her and enjoy talking with her and spending time in the kitchen when she is volunteering. Her sense of responsibility and servitude are always above and beyond any job description or requirement. Indeed, we are blessed to count Andrea as part of the RMH Houston team!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Angie Takles-Barut
Angie is such a joy! We love having her as a part of our family at Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital! Angie is fun and easy to be around and helps make our House feel more like a Home. Angie cares about our families and takes their situations to heart – as if they were her own family. Angie is such a great example of a volunteer – she comes in with a smile, does whatever is needed, and feels just like family. We are better because of you, Angie!
Holcombe House – Barbara Hurst
Barbara is always smiling, willing to help wherever needed, and so wonderful with our families. She has always been a dedicated volunteer and never misses a shift without letting us know first! Barbara has helped so much recently with shepherding new volunteers and showing everyone the ropes in our new space at Holcombe House. We so appreciate you and all you do for us at RMH Houston!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Katrina Nolan
Katrina is such a wonderful volunteer! She shows great dedication to RMH by going above and beyond – she always makes an effort to pick up extra sub shifts each month, helps on holidays, and often volunteers to help at RMH special events. She’s very dependable and is always happy to assist us with anything we need. She’s very knowledgeable about RMH and is so kind and welcoming to our RMH families. Katrina’s support of RMH is amazing and we’re so thankful she’s part of our team!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Kamile Kuci Prochaska
Kamile has been our awesome volunteer since early 2016. From day one, she has been enthusiastic, engaged, invested and always going above and beyond what is required of her volunteer duties. When we’ve had additional activities, Kamile has not only volunteered to assist, but has also included her family, who have also been very generous with their time and talent! Her generous heart encompasses not just her time, but often, her organizational skills, conducive to large donations of food/goodies/snacks for our family pantry. Overall, Kamile has been a valued asset to our organization, her love and dedication to our mission speaks loudly via her daily actions. We are honored to have Kamile as part of our Ronald McDonald Family Room at MDA team!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Jennifer Moore
Jennifer is a truly a gift to Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. It is rare to find someone who kind, caring, committed, and joyful. Jennifer is all of these things and more! When Jennifer enters a room, her warmth and kindness are evident. She puts our families at ease with her sweet smile and desire to help in any way she can. Wednesdays at CMHH are much better because Jennifer is with us! Thank you, Jennifer!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Samjah de Jongh
Samjah is a wonderful part of the Sunday crew at Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital! She is punctual, and willing to help out where ever needed. She also always make sure that everything is taken care of before she leaves. Samjah is very reliable, and a great team player! We are very blessed to have her as a part of the RMH Houston volunteer team!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Patrick Jones
It is wonderful to have Patrick as one of our volunteers. Every shift he is here, he comes in with a huge smile. Patrick is ready and willing to help in anything that needs assistance as soon as he walks in. One of his best traits is his interactions with the families. I often find parents venting with Patrick. Patrick will listen to the families and make their concerns and feelings a priority. It is great to see the families feel comfortable with him and express themselves in such a way. Patrick shows great compassion every time he comes in and we are very lucky he chose to volunteer with Ronald McDonald Family Room at MD Anderson!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Shannon Misiasek
It was apparent even after one shift with Shannon that she understands our core values of compassion, excellence, and relevance working with our families and staff here at RMH CMHH. Shannon comes in with a smile eager to get to any task asked of her. It is comforting knowing that Shannon is caring for our families and our house. After hearing feedback from Shannon about her work here and our mission, I am confident Shannon more than deserves recognition as our volunteer of the month.
Holcombe House – Caroline Rahmn
Caroline has volunteered at Holcombe House for over six years, giving over 220 hours of her time hosting dinners through Junior League! Her passion for serving others is evident from her thoughtful preparation of craft activities to her smile and greetings when serving food. She is conscientious and perceptive, noticing when there are needs and stepping into help immediately. This year she’s added responsibilities as Assistant Chairman for Junior League at RMH, and her help has been instrumental in growing the program bigger than ever before! We are thankful for your help and energy Caroline!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Debbie Condon
Debbie is an amazing volunteer who supports RMH in so many ways! In addition to her volunteer shift here, she’s also a part of Friends of RMH (where she helps host wonderful brunches for our families) and volunteers to help with most RMH events. Debbie especially loves the kiddos and families on our oncology floors, where she focuses on making families and patients feel welcome and supported. We’re thankful she chooses to share her passion for serving others with RMH Houston!
Ronald McDonald Family Room at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Julie Mugridge
We are very lucky to have Julie as one of our Junior League volunteers. Julie chose to serve at RMH at MDA for a second time; we are very grateful and happy she did! Julie takes initiative every time she comes in for her shift, she will stock, organize and clean anything that needs to be taken care of without being asked. Julie shows great compassion when interacting with our families during Bingo Night’s or when delivering cookies to the patient rooms. She greets them with a big smile and is willing to help them in any way possible. It is a joy to see her serve with such a caring and loving heart!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Livia Garcia
Livia is a wonderful volunteer that embodies our core values in her commitment to RMH and our families served here at CMHH. Livia is up for any and all tasks asked of her during her shifts and willingly stays over to help if there is no evening coverage to help serve meals to our families. Livia’s spirit of giving is evident in her work here as a volunteer and her interactions with our families. Livia is an asset to our team here at CMHH and we are lucky to have her here.
Holcombe House – Carrie Leavitt
Carrie always has a positive attitude and is constantly trying to help around the House. Her ability to speak Spanish and English helps tremendously and she never misses and opportunity to engage with our family guests and visitors. Carrie is very consistent in her attendance, even only missing one shift throughout her recent wedding planning and wedding! Her support of our mission is evident both inside and outside the House as she has also competed in our Run for the House several times. We appreciate her hard work, enthusiasm to serve, and caring nature and are happy to celebrate her as July Volunteer of the Month at Holcombe House!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Carole Uttecht
Carole is an incredible volunteer! Her specialty is serving pizza and cookies room-to-room on 9th Floor West Tower, and she brightens the day of every child she visits. Her attention to detail is amazing and she take great care to make sure the family room is clean and looks its very best. She’s so dependable and is always here for her shift early and ready to help sort out pizza in the kitchen. Carole has also been so helpful by letting several RMH staff members who wanted to experience Pizza Day on 9th West Tower tag along with her. We’re so happy she’s a part of our team at Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital!
Ronald McDonald Family Room at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Bianca Bowden
Bianca is a strong volunteer who, despite struggles and adversities she has had to face, consistently shows up for her shifts and/or makes up her shifts, even doing extra ones. She brings expertise and comfort in the setting as someone that has worked in the medical field for over 8 years. Yet, she is down to earth, kind, and has a passion to help people in the medical field who are from lower social economic communities. She is very involved with sickle-cell education and seeks to empower patients. We are grateful to have someone with her compassionate heart on our team at Ronald McDonald Family Room MD Anderson!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Amy Ward
We realized quickly when we first met Amy that she would be an excellent volunteer. She is organized and a natural leader- leading by example and behavior. She is a faithful, consistent, and committed volunteer, having already served one year with the families at Holcombe House, and now giving her time at the Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann. We are grateful to have her on the team!
Holcombe House – Rebecca Fieler
We can count on Rebecca to show up ready to work with a smile. She’s an integral part of the volunteer team at Holcombe House, making Sunday evenings run smoothly when there could be chaos and productive when there is down time. She has taken ownership of tasks to complete during her shift to prep the House for the following week, so consistently that staff sometimes forget to complete those tasks on weeks when she’s not scheduled! She even took it upon herself to update and reorganize the restaurant list we give to families – confirming ordering and delivery options, ranking by type of food and price point. All the while, Rebecca’s smile and enthusiasm is a big encouragement to our families, co-volunteers, and staff!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Carol Taylor
Carol is an amazing volunteer at Ronald McDonald House Texas Children’s Hospital! She is so kind and compassionate when talking with our families and patients on the Oncology floors, and she shows so much attention to detail while keeping the family rooms perfectly clean and well-stocked. She’s always happy to stay later and lend a hand if we need last-minute help with Pizza Day. Carol is also a recent addition to our Volunteer Trainer team, and we’re thankful for the time she devotes to making sure new volunteers feel comfortable and are excellent representatives of RMH! Carol is joy to be around and we are so happy that she’s part of our team!
Ronald McDonald Family Room MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Nevin Thomas
Nevin has been volunteering for a year and a half and has generously given over 60 hours of his valuable weekend time! Nevin shows up ready to help out in any manner needed and looks for things to do to contribute to the success of our Family Room program at MD Anderson. Even when he mistakenly showed up off-schedule, he stayed to help since he saw there was need! Nevin is polite, welcoming, and down to earth. He deserves this recognition because he shows to be understanding of the medical field, different adversities, and struggles people may have. This empathy helps our families feel at home and at ease. Thank you for serving with a compassionate smile, Nevin!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Stephanie Lex
Stephanie has been a steady substitute volunteer for 4 years with Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Stephanie is always willing to help out with our filing and paperwork. Stephanie has a smile on her face while helping our families and answering questions. It is a pleasure watching Stephanie help our families, while remembering to do so with care and compassion. Choosing Stephanie for June’s Volunteer of the Month took little effort because she takes care of our families and honors her commitment as a sub volunteer so well!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Leah LeCompte
We’re so thankful for Leah’s years of support! She is so warm and friendly with new families and does a great job of giving thorough tours and answer all their questions. She’s a great team player and our other volunteers all look forward to days when they get to work with her. Leah works hard to make plenty of linen packets for us and makes sure all the bedrooms are set up perfectly for naptime. She’s also just joined our team of volunteer trainers and she’s been so patient and helpful to our new volunteers. Leah always comes in early to help as much as she possibly can, and we are grateful for her thoughtfulness and compassion!
Ronald McDonald Family Room MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Dania Almosuli
Dania’s amazing and gentle spirit speaks volumes as to her heart for serving others. From the moment she arrives until her shift is over, Dania exhibits a welcoming and inclusive demeanor towards all. Although she is quiet and shy, there is never a question of where her heart is, as she makes sure that all who come into our areas feel welcomed. Because she fluently speaks Arabic, we have received so much positive feedback from families who feel a connection with her and are thankful that she volunteers with Ronald McDonald Family Room at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. Last but not least, she bakes some awesome chocolate chip cookies that the patients and their families love!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Claudia Olivas
Claudia can brighten up any room with her smile and it is contagious. She is kind and thoughtful towards our families and hospital partners. She is easy to be around and makes Ronald McDonald House at CMHH stronger with her joy and work ethic. She in an incredibly hard worker and we are so grateful to have her on our team. Claudia is dedicated and helps to make us a better home away from home for our families. Thank you, Claudia!
Holcombe House – Thalia Aguirre
Thalia has been an incredible RMH Houston volunteer at Holcombe House since February of 2015. During her three years of volunteering, she has given over 180 hours of her time to serve our families. Her smile lights up a room and her patient compassion gives ease to families in stressful situations. Thalia is consistent in her attendance and cheerful in demeanor. She eagerly agrees to any task asked of her. Her observant, perceptive nature allows her to read people well, and then offer to help with needs they may not even be saying out loud. She stays one step ahead and graciously looks for opportunities to serve. We are thankful to have Thalia and pleased to select her as our April 2018 Holcombe House Volunteer of the Month!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital- Angela Martinez
Angela is super sweet and so helpful with families! She’s always on time and ready to serve others on Saturday mornings. Angela is part of our Volunteer Trainer team, and her patience with new volunteers and her enthusiasm for RMH make her an excellent trainer! Her calm demeanor and warm, inviting personality makes families feel welcome as soon as they enter our House. We are thankful for Angela’s dedication to RMH Houston and proud to nominate her as the April RMH at TCH Volunteer of the Month!
Ronald McDonald Family Room MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Justin Tang
Justin is a fantastic volunteer! He works independently and always takes initiative. Moreover, his work is thorough and he pays attention to details, making it great quality. He is always early and gets right to work without needing reminders or prompting from staff. This is especially helpful since he comes during the busy first shift of the day! His enthusiasm to serve is contagious. Our families feel well cared for due to his presence in our RMH Family Room program inside MD Anderson.
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Rachel Barnes
Rachel is always willing to take on any task given to her, even if it is baking cookies. She comes during a class break ready to tackle the lounges and linen packets. Rachel always has a smile on her face while doing any task asked of her. We are pleased to have her and appreciate her warmth and compassion when interacting with our families. For these reasons and many more, Rachel is our Volunteer of the Month at Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital!
Holcombe House – Amy Hickey
Amy has been an incredible volunteer at Holcombe House for four years and served over 200 hours! Her smiles and laughter help families feel at home and relieved in the midst of stressful situations. She is very helpful to staff as well, always asking what she can do and willing to tackle any task. We appreciate Amy sharing her joy with all of us! For these reasons and many more, Amy Hickey is our nomination for Holcombe House Volunteer of the Month.
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Tori Colomo
Tori will be so missed by our staff, volunteers, and families. She is an incredible cookie baker, and she has cheered so many Ronald McDonald House families by making a total of over 3,000 cookies! She’s happy to pick up sub shifts whenever we need her, and she even fills in on Thursdays if another baker is out, so she can make sure we’re still able to serve the families cookies on Pizza Day. Tori is also wonderful at setting up the bedrooms for naptime families, and has been so helpful by sorting donations and feeding the fish. She’s become great at checking families out of their overnight rooms and she keeps the kitchen and sitting areas spotless. She has made many friends here at RMH, encouraged so many parents, and seeing her smile in the House is the best part of our Wednesdays!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Sarah Harris
Sarah Harris is a great volunteer! Sarah comes in with a smile and will frequently asks what she can do to help. She is eager to help and assist the families in any way possible. Days that Sarah is present for “Bingo Night”, she makes the activity enjoyable for our patients and their families. Sarah will graciously sit with families that are not familiar with Bingo, and assist them during the activity. You can see the families feel at ease when she joins them. Sarah also bakes and delivers cookies to our families, which is something they look forward to every time. We are very pleased to have Sarah as a volunteer here at Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson. We could not do what we do without volunteers like her!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Katherine Butler
Katherine Butler is an excellent volunteer! We are excited each time we know her shift is coming up. She is thoughtful and kind with our families. She is responsible and has an excellent work ethic. On Wednesday evenings when we have Pizza Night, Katherine serves each piece of pizza with a warm smile and greeting. This type of warmth and kindness cannot be taught. We are very grateful to have her genuine, caring nature here with us at Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital!
Holcombe House – Angel Campos
Angel Campos has been using Holcombe House as a father for almost 16 years. In addition to supporting his own family, he consistently gives a listening ear to other families, and asks to help out the staff during each trip to Houston. Since convincing him to start tracking his volunteer hours in 2016, he’s logged over 820 hours of maintenance help. Throughout the construction the past several months, he’s been graciously helping operations and maintenance staff move furniture and reorganize spaces all over the House, even while laughing and smiling the whole time. Angel is also very helpful being available for our evening House Managers after many of the daytime staff leave for the day. His cheerful spirit and giving presence is incredible and much appreciated. We’d like to nominate Angel for the Holcombe House February Volunteer of the Month for always being there for his family, other Holcombe House families, and the Ronald McDonald House staff.
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – Amber Egbetola
Amber is amazing! She volunteers at least once every week, and she’s picked up extra substitute shifts to help us more times than we can count. She goes above and beyond to help serve our RMH Houston families – she’s even taking Spanish lessons! She was a lifesaver the day after Hurricane Harvey, when most of our other volunteers cancelled – she spent the entire day here and volunteered 12 hours that day! Amber takes great care of the family rooms and make sure the kitchens are spotless and well stocked. She’s a great part of our team and we’re thankful for the kindness and helpfulness she shows RMH families!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Barbara Caracciolo
From the moment Barbara walks in to our RMFR Kitchen to volunteer, she is smiling! The families and patients look forward to the days Barbara volunteers. They love to visit the kitchen to get some of her delicious, freshly baked cookies! (Always served with a smile!) Barbara does not limit herself at supporting and serving the patients and their families to the days she is scheduled to volunteer, rather, she faithfully gathers goodies and gifts to distribute to the kids on special occasions. She has been instrumental in assisting with special activities not held on her assigned volunteer days. Her heart is bigger than Texas and in that magnitude, she loves and supports everyone at our location, including the staff. We count it a blessing that Barbara is part of our team. We are most grateful for her sweet and humble demeanor and her giving, generous and empathetic heart!
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – Emily Murdock
Emily Murdock is a Wednesday evening Junior League volunteer. Emily comes in for her shift ready to work and eager to help the families and staff with whatever is needed. She is polite and patient with the families, which is especially needed considering what the families are going through. Emily is has a quiet, peaceful strength, and prepared for any task given. When Emily even thinks that she may run behind, schedule she always calls to inform the manager on duty of her arrival. For these and many other reasons, we are submitting Emily for Ronald McDonald House Children’s Memorial Hermann Volunteer of the Month.
Holcombe House – Noelle Cunningham
Noelle is an amazing team player! She is up for any task and will do it all with a huge smile. When asked if she could make the dinner announcement recently, she admitted she was shy; however, she conquered her fear and did it anyways! There are many reasons why she is an excellent choice for the volunteer of the month. We are so grateful to have her a part of the Holcombe House family!
Ronald McDonald House inside Texas Children’s Hospital – April Darling
April is such a great supporter of RMH Houston! She is always here to help whenever we need her, and she’s a fantastic help to us. Her RMH knowledge is amazing, and she’s so kind when touring new families and telling them all about the services available to them through the House. April often donates supplies to us and has even hosted a meal for our families. We are so thankful she chooses to volunteer with Ronald McDonald House at Texas Children’s Hospital!
Ronald McDonald Family Room inside MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Torria Williams
Torria has such a gentle and sweet disposition when interacting with the patients and their families, she always goes above and beyond to make sure that everyone who visits our areas are made to feel at home! Her natural and beautiful smile is often the topic of conversation amongst the parents, with one mom voicing to me that Torria’s smile kept her from breaking down. Mom shared that one day she was so overwhelmed with worry and uncertainty and when she came into the kitchen, Torria didn’t say a word, she simply stood up, opened the door for mom and smiled at her. Mom stated that the sincerity of that smile, the love in that smile, made her feel like she didn’t have to cry, as she realized she wasn’t alone. With her beautiful smile, no words needed, our amazing volunteer conveyed empathy, support and love for this particular mom.
Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital – April Case
April is a delight to have as a volunteer. She is always prepared to work and asking if there is anything else that she can help with. April always asks for feedback on her performance to ensure that she is doing the best job possible to help RMH at Children’s Memorial Hermann run as smoothly as needed. So for these reasons, and many more, April is not only the perfect candidate for volunteer of the month, but always.