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Couple Gets More Thanks at Hospital than Church

Gordon MacDonald tells a story about a husband and wife team who are three-day-a-week volunteers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The wife works at the information desk at the main entrance. Her mission: To welcome and provide information for people entering the hospital for the first time.

Her husband oversees a reception area for families and friends of cancer patients who are in surgery. His mission: To ensure that they are comfortable and cared for until the surgeon comes to tell them what has happened in the OR. When Gordon MacDonald asked them, "Why do you do this? You could be snorkeling in Florida" they said:

Because we are aggressively appreciated. Mass General practices a culture of appreciation. You can hardly go 15 minutes during the day without someone on the MGH staff stopping you (from hospital president to the cleaning staff) and saying thanks and something like "We couldn't do what we do without you." We're made to feel like an important part of a world-class medical team. We've never felt so completely valued in any other organization.

"Are you telling me," MacDonald replied, "that you receive more appreciation at the hospital than you got when you once poured yourself into work at our church?" They answered slowly, firmly, maybe even sadly: "There's no comparison."

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