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Volunteer calls it a career at 55,000 hours

Health Sciences North's volunteer adviser, Carole Delorme, says she will need to recruit at least five new volunteers to replace Peter Penttila, a longtime volunteer with the hospital, who had his last shift on Thursday, June 19.
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Peter Penttila has donated more than 55,000 hours of his time to the Sudbury General Hospital, and later, Health Sciences North, over a 30 year period. His last day at the hospital was Thursday, June 19, before a planned move to Toronto. Supplied photo.
Health Sciences North's volunteer adviser, Carole Delorme, says she will need to recruit at least five new volunteers to replace Peter Penttila, a longtime volunteer with the hospital, who had his last shift on Thursday, June 19.

Pentilla first started volunteering at the Sudbury General Hospital in 1984, when he was 24. The volunteer program was at its infancy at that point.

Since then, Penttila became a fixture of the hospital's volunteer service.

In his 30 years of community service, he donated more than 55,000 hours of his time to the Sudbury General Hospital, and later, Health Sciences North.

“Peter is the most dedicated volunteer we've had,” said Delorme. “Everybody loves him and everybody is around to support him.”

On Pentilla's last day, hospital staff hosted a goodbye party.

As keepsakes, they gave him a staff photo, and other pictures of his time at the hospital.

It was Penttila's mother, a nurse at the Sudbury General Hospital, who first convinced him to use his free time to help patients and staff at the hospital.

He started volunteering on a part-time basis, helping patients to their rooms.

“I kind of found my niche in the health system,” Penttila said. “I like helping people and meeting people.”

Penttila later moved on to helping out with the cataract surgery, and minor surgeries department, where he made patients' beds and cleaned their sheets.

When he started volunteering at the hospital five days a week, for seven hours each day, he said he got by financially with a small pension, and living within his means.

Pentilla said he will move to Toronto soon, where he can be closer to his family.

He said he plans to look for more volunteering opportunities in Toronto.

Jonathan Migneault

About the Author: Jonathan Migneault

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