Thankful couple volunteers in return

March 22, 2011

By Arlene Carter

Seven years ago, Joann Jaques lay in her bed at Providence Marianwood nursing and rehabilitation facility and feared she would die. Under treatment for a severe case of cellulitis, she was on intravenous antibiotics and was too weak to walk.

Volunteers Joann and Raymond Jaques look over patient files at Providence Marianwood nursing and rehabilitation facility. Contributed

But thanks to the nursing care and physical therapy she received at the Issaquah facility for 21 days, her infection was beaten back and she regained the strength to get up and move around.

Once she returned to her home, her thoughts turned to the needs at Marianwood.

“I figured if there’s anything I could do to give back, I’d be most happy to,” said Joann, 74. “Because for me, after all, I know they saved my life.”

Joann and her husband Raymond, 76, have both stayed at Marianwood following knee replacements, too. And for more than six years now, they’ve been repaying the staff by volunteering two to three days a week.

Listen to them reel off the jobs they’ve done, and it sounds like they could practically run the place. They’ve organized files, worked in the medical-records office, filled in for receptionists, prepared packets for new patients, helped the occupational therapist, worked in the gift shop, sat and visited with residents, helped write thank-you notes to staff and filled envelopes for regular fundraisers.

The Issaquah couple is among many volunteers who supplement the care given by 200 employees and health care providers at Providence Marianwood. Recognizing that April is National Volunteer Month, the Jaques talk of the bonds they’ve formed with staff members, patients and fellow volunteers there. Friends meet for lunch, give each other rides to doctor’s appointments, share in the joy of new grandchildren and pray for each other during times of worry.

“It’s just like an extended family,” Joann said.

Earlier this year, both Joann and Raymond experienced unexpected health challenges. Joann has been plagued with muscle neuropathy in her left leg as a result of diabetes and Raymond took a fall and needed many stitches in his head. Both of them healed quickly and got right back to work at Marianwood, where they both enjoy the work they do and the friendship of the residents and staff.

In 2010, more than 1,000 volunteers donated 8,466 hours of their time to benefit the residents of Providence Marianwood.

Get involved

Learn more about volunteering at Marianwood and set up an appointment for an interview by calling volunteer coordinator Diane Bixler at 391-2827 or email her at

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