Meet Karen Hookailo, our featured volunteer from Boston!

Get to know our volunteers!

Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? I volunteer at the Boston VA Hospital

How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? Since January 2017

Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician? Guide

What is your occupation outside of MOC? Business Analyst Consultant within an Information Technology Division

Do you have any hidden talents? Puzzles, any kind of puzzle, picture puzzles, sudoku puzzles, math puzzles, work problems that required putting all the of pieces of a puzzle together to solve.
I don’t know if you would call that a hidden talent. But to some people solving puzzles is a challenge but to me they are a mind opener that comes naturally.

What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? My first-hand experience to the power of music was while I was hospitalized after knee surgery due to a skiing accident. My boyfriend at the time, now my husband, brought me a variety of music, much of which I had never heard before. The music was soothing, motivating and sustained me through many months of healing, physical therapy and having to learn how to walk again. Though it has been over 30 years since that experience, I have never forgotten the healing power of music, how it continues to help me through many of life’s challenges, hardships as well as bring joy to life’s celebrations.

What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? Volunteering at MOC with Veterans is different from any of my other volunteer experiences as it is an opportunity to give back to the Veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much for us and our country. I have also witnessed the dedication, care and commitment the hospitals workers have for each patient.

Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? Yes, my life has changed. I now feel a strong bond with the talented Musicians and other Guides who are genuinely committed to making a difference in someone’s life. l also feel I have a much stronger sense of gratitude, compassion, and appreciation of the sacrifices each Veteran has made for us and our country.

What is your favorite #MOCmoment? There too many to mention, but here are a few:
– learning a Veteran, who admittedly was having a sad day and welcomed a song being played for him, which he absolutely loved, was blind.
– partaking in a birthday party put on by the hospital staff for the wife of a Veteran and all of us singing her Happy Birthday.
– hearing the Veterans heartfull expression of appreciation for this program and what it meant to them that people volunteered their time to help them.
– it is not uncommon for a Veteran to decline having a song sung for them for various reasons; but, as a song is played for other Veteran sharing the room, you see that their toes are tapping and by the end of the song they are clapping.
– many Veterans were musicians themselves (guitarists, drummers, singers); so having music played for them bedside triggered many positive, happy memories and for some inspired them to take up music again.

Do you want to help us deliver the healing power of music? Apply to volunteer as a Guide or a Musician today!


Smiling musician volunteer poses next to happy patient.

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You can bring a dose of joy to patients, families and caregivers as a Volunteer Musician or Guide.

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