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Guilio Camerini, a volunteer at Elmhurst Hospital, credits the Navy for his interest in medicine.
In 1960, Camerini was a 20-year-old who wanted to choose which branch of the military he ended up serving. He joined the Navy and began work as an operating room technician.
When he was discharged from the Navy in 1964, he went to work as an operating room technician at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.
Camerini, now 78, is also a hospital volunteer – 20 years at Loyola, and now a year and a half at Elmhurst Hospital. He lives in Elmhurst with his wife, close to his four children and 12 grandchildren.
“I wanted to give something to the hospital to help people in the hospital,” he said. “It lets me meet a lot of people. Otherwise I’d stay home and do nothing.”
Now, in addition to his volunteer work in the hospital’s Family Birthing Center and surgical waiting room, Camerini visits patients who are veterans.
Through Elmhurst Hospital’s new Veteran Recognition Program, patients who are veterans are asked if they would like their military service recognized while they are hospitalized. If they agree to participate, volunteers like Camerini visit them with a door hanger, flag pin and a thank-you note from hospital CEO Mary Lou Mastro.
Mastro started the program to identify and thank employees and patients who are military veterans. She also wanted to use the program to educate staff members about service-related illnesses and conditions veterans may experience.
“We have gotten such positive feedback on this program from our patients and our family members,” Mastro said. “It makes everybody feel good. The person that receives it and the person that gives the honor to the veterans.”
Camerini said he knows how good it feels to be recognized for your military service, and that he enjoys being able to personally deliver the recognition to Elmhurst’s patients.
“Their families, it means a lot to them, too,” he said. “It feels good to know they’re being recognized after all these years.”
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