Although she’s not a doctor or a nurse, patients at Kent General Hospital rely on 84-year-old Sigrid Mills every day.
The Dover woman has been an active hospital volunteer for more than 30 years, and hasn’t missed a day of service in more than 10 years.
“When I make a promise, I don’t go back on it, unless I’m sick,” she said.
Her daily routine varies. In addition to making the rounds at Kent General, Mills also visits patients at Milford Memorial Hospital as well as a local nursing home.
She visits as many as eight patients a day, spending just a few minutes with each one. She drops off flowers or baked goods, something special to brighten their day.
“I do think it’s meaningful to them to know that you think enough to do that and it makes me feel I’ve done my best,” she said. “I always say if we do our best, God will do the rest.”
Sometimes Mills visits with patients from her local parish, other times the patients are total strangers.
“Just recently I had somebody in the Heart Unit and the nurse said ‘I’m so grateful you’re here, he gets no visitors,’” she said.
Mills is never a stranger for very long.
“I usually find people pretty receptive,” she said. “I think I’ve got some kind of a face that people take to.”
It’s not easy seeing people in a vulnerable state and while there are some difficult days, Mills said each experience makes her more “thankful.”
“God gives me the strength every day, you know it’s not going to last forever but I’m grateful for the opportunities he gives me and the time to serve,” she said.
Mills volunteer efforts have not gone unnoticed. She is a past recipient of the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award and has been recognized by the Bayhealth Honors Program.