Get to know our volunteers!
Name: Michelle W.
Branch: Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Area
Do you volunteer at a specific hospital? Baltimore VA Medical Center
How long have you been volunteering with Musicians On Call? 3 Years
Are you a Volunteer Guide or Volunteer Musician? Guide
What is your occupation outside of MOC? Mental health professional and Psychology professor
Do you have any hidden talents? People all over the world have told me their deepest secrets, and have since I was very young. I think they sense I am a “safe” person who will honor their privacy. Also, I can always find Waldo.
What is your story? What connects you with music and why do you volunteer with MOC? Eleven years ago I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. My husband was an active duty military member, so I had all my surgeries and treatments at the old Walter Reed Army Medical Center. My experience was overwhelmingly positive, and this was during a time when there was a big scandal in the media about poor treatment at Walter Reed. There were many Wounded Warriors being treated at the same time, and I would see them in the halls and waiting areas. Once I saw a woman my age get on the elevator, and she was pushing a baby in a stroller with one hand, and her husband in a wheelchair with her other hand. I thought to myself “I’ve got no problems compared to this woman”. I decided then that I would do something to bring joy to people in the hospital, if even for a few minutes. Now that my children are older, I am able to volunteer and do that with MOC as a Guide.
What makes MOC different from your other volunteer experiences? The patients we serve at the Baltimore VA Medical Center are the brave men and women who have served this country selflessly. They take nothing for granted because they know the cost of freedom. I love that I can serve them as a Guide for MOC.
Has your life changed because of your experience with MOC? We are in the presence of grace and dignity on every tour of the Baltimore VA. My life is enriched with every Tour of the VA Hospital.
What is your favorite #MOCmoment? I always love it when the inpatients rock the house in the day room! Those old power ballads tend to get groups really engaged. It creates a really cool sense of community when everyone from different genarations and backgrounds know the words and sing along. The Beatles and Journey and Elton John speak to everyone.