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ONEIDA COUNTY VOLUNTEER WEEK: ST. ELIZABETH'S MEDICAL CENTER

Friday’s featured volunteer organization is St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

By Cindy McNicholl

Friday’s featured volunteer organization is St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

Today’s featured volunteer is a man who has danced his way into the hearts of the nurses of St. Elizabeth’s.

Music, conversations... Dancing! Orlando Brigano brings a lot of fun to the gift shop at Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center. But dancing... is how some nurses know him best.

Orlando smiles, “Sometimes they'll grab me and we'll even have a little dance over here. I used to jitterbug when I was a young fellow, but I can't do it anymore. “

And he always finds time to work.
“I do sell a lot of stuff, too. They look around, and I tell them to take their time, that's what we're here for. Don't rush.”

It all started five years ago, when Brigano walked into Saint E's volunteer office to offer his time. Brigano volunteers every Tuesday at the gift shop, and he's become very popular.

Grace Defazio-Bousz, Director of Volunteers says, “Everyone has come to know him and love him so much, that if he's not here on a Tuesday, my telephone starts ringing. Where is he? Is he okay? That staff is genuinely concerned about him. Everyone cares about him. He's wonderful.”

In return, Brigano says, “It's the most rewarding thing because the people here are so wonderful, so nice, so thoughtful.”

Saint E's honored Brigano with the "Volunteer Of The Year" award two years ago.

Brigano has “the plaque at home, and when somebody visits me, you can be sure that this little boy, 82 years old, says here, look what I’ve got, the Volunteer Of The Year.”

And at 82 years “young,” Brigano doesn't plan on stopping any time soon. “I just enjoy every bit of it. This is the best thing, so rewarding to me, that I've ever done in my whole life.”

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