The Journal Gazette
Sunday, September 27, 2020 1:00 am

Volunteer Spotlight

Nurse comes full circle in her vocation

JESSICA GARVIN | The Journal Gazette

After working at Parkview Hospital Randallia as a registered nurse, 58-year-old Denise Snyder still wanted to use her nursing skills to help people get the health care they needed. She returned to Matthew 25, the medical clinic where she had her observation experience years before to help meet the needs of low-income, uninsured residents. Her profile follows:

Daytime occupation: Worked as a registered nurse at Parkview Hospital Randallia from 1983 to 1993 in the coronary care unit. She left to be a full-time mom and homeschooling parent from 1993 to 2014 and has not been employed in a paid position since leaving Parkview.

City of birth: LaGrange

Current hometown: Churubusco

Family: I've been married 33 years to my husband, Jim. We have four children, Abigail, Nathan (wife Kelsey), Joshua and Hannah, and three grandchildren, Judah, Hadassah and Jane.

Volunteer position/organization: Volunteer nurse for the medical clinic at Matthew 25

Time volunteering with the organization: Six years

Why did you first get involved with the organization: I really enjoyed my nursing career and wanted to utilize those skills after our youngest child graduated high school. During nursing school, I had an observation experience at Matthew 25, so the idea of becoming a volunteer for the organization had been present for a long time – I loved Matthew 25's mission to provide health care to those in need. Coincidentally, I ran into a former colleague that was an active and enthusiastic volunteer at Matthew 25 right at the point when I was ready to start volunteering. She encouraged me to apply as soon as possible and I began shortly after that encounter.

Do you have a favorite memory from volunteering: I don't have a specific favorite memory, but more of a collective remembrance of individuals whom I have interacted with over the years. It's a blessing to know that they have received quality health care from dedicated staff and fellow volunteers which has, hopefully, impacted their lives positively.

What is the biggest personal benefit you receive from volunteering: I am able to use my nursing training by working alongside a great group of devoted staff and volunteers to help and love people.

What has surprised you the most about volunteering with the organization: The number of volunteers that give their time and talents to Matthew 25 is remarkable – I believe last year more than 550 individuals served more than 27,000 hours. I'm definitely not the volunteer with the most longevity, most hours served, or greatest talent, but by so many doing what they are able, much is accomplished.

What do you find most challenging: Matthew 25 serves a diverse population and in some cases patients do not speak English, and I, unfortunately, only speak English. While interpreters are present to ensure accurate communication, I am challenged by the language barrier that exists. More recently, I miss the nonverbal communication that can be shared through a smile, which, for the time being, is hidden behind my mask.

What is your strongest belief/personal philosophy about the cause: As a Christian, I believe I am called to live my life in a way that demonstrates my love for God and people. The Bible, in the 25th chapter of Matthew, speaks about helping those who we see with needs – among those listed are the ill. Matthew 25 provides free medical and dental care for uninsured, low-income residents in our area. In assisting individuals with needs, Jesus says it is as if we are helping him. It's an honor and privilege for me to be a small part of Matthew 25's mission, which lives out and displays both a love for God and people.

What is the best advice you would give to someone interested in volunteering: Do it. There are many opportunities to volunteer at Matthew 25. Whether you're a health care professional or a layperson wanting to help those who are in need of health care, there is a place for you. Go to for details.

What are your hopes for and how do you see the organization/cause changing in the next five years: I hope the local community will continue to see the value of the services that Matthew 25 offers and support the organization by volunteering, prayer, and financial support. As our health care changes in the future, Matthew 25 will adapt and change as well. There will continue to be needs in our community for health and dental services, and I hope that Matthew 25 will be able to serve even more individuals. Perhaps by utilizing telemedicine, opening satellite offices, or a mobile unit, they might be more readily available to those without transportation in the outlying communities that they serve.

What are your hobbies/something people might not know about you outside of your volunteering: I volunteer as a camp nurse for a Christian summer camp in Pennsylvania and am a volunteer nurse at A Hope Center, a pregnancy care center in Fort Wayne. My hobbies include anything that involves spending time with family and friends, especially the grandchildren, reading, hiking, and bicycling with my husband on a tandem. We try to ride every day, near and far. Our most epic tandem trip was in 2018 when we rode from San Diego, California, to Jacksonville, Florida.

Organizations that wish to highlight an individual for the Volunteer Spotlight feature can contact Jessica Garvin at 260-461-8364 or email

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily