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URMC / Strong Memorial Hospital / Friends of Strong / The Best of Friends Blog / March 2019 / Going Strong: Volunteer Bud Wesley Recognized for Decades of Service to Patients and Families

Going Strong: Volunteer Bud Wesley Recognized for Decades of Service to Patients and Families

Long-time Friends of Strong volunteer Bud Wesley, recognized with a 2019 Health Care Volunteer Achievement Award by the Rochester Business Journal, shares the dedication that brings him joy while serving others.

Hanging out with volunteer Bud Wesley before he makes his rounds.Only a few weeks shy of an early retirement, Bud Wesley found himself in an ICU waiting room with no one to talk to. His mother was a patient and he found comradery with the families of other patients who were on the same floor—many of which shared the sentiment that they wished there were hospital staff that could be there to help them navigate their circumstances and pass the time.

It was then that Bud decided to fulfil those very wishes. Not having any firm plans of what to do with his newly earned time, he soon became a Friends of Strong Memorial Hospital volunteer, offering just the services he and those other families had wished were available while they were sitting in the waiting room.

Today, at 76 years young, Bud discharges patients in the mornings, after which he brings a coffee cart up to the Intensive Care units to provide comfort to families who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

Just about every Wednesday and Thursday for the past 24 years, he’s been traveling from his home in Bristol to provide an open ear to patients and families who just need someone to talk with, as well as passing out fresh hot coffee, tea, snacks and other comfort items.

“It’s a real blessing to be able to make things a little easier for families who are especially under stress or facing hard things,” he says. “I guess I maybe have that grandfatherly thing. Sometimes it’s just to listen, sometimes it’s a shoulder to cry on, and sometimes it’s to break up family feuds!”

Bud understands the patient perspective and provides a level of reassurance that’s unique from that of clinical staff. “Bud’s service provides a personal touch in what can be a very busy environment for patients and their families,” says Sandy Arbasak, director of Friends of Strong. “His positive, humble demeanor makes him a favorite of patients and staff alike.”

His dedication to comforting patients and their families is unmatched. Bud is quite possibly Strong’s most devoted unsung hero—volunteering more than 15,000 hours at Strong since 1995. And he’s also served as a firefighter and volunteers with his hometown fire department!

Throughout the years, Bud continues to be a fixture within our adult Intensive Care Units,” says Mike Apostolakos, M.D., chief medical officer and vice president of the University of Rochester Medical Center. “I’ve witnessed his caring and comforting support to our patients and their families first-hand on countless occasions and, without a doubt, Bud’s regular visits with coffee and treats to the families of our most critically ill patients is invaluable.”

“Bud’s dedication to serving our community is simply amazing,” adds Arbasak. “His kindness, loyalty, and commitment to our patients and their families is unwavering, and we can only imagine how many lives he’s touched over the years.”


Matt Ulakovic | 3/15/2019

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