7Everyday Hero John Maher helps comfort patients at Longmont United Hospital

Volunteer visits patients twice a week

LONGMONT, Colo. -- When you are facing an illness, it is comforting to know you're not alone in your journey. 
 
7Everyday Hero John Maher is not a doctor or a nurse, but he touches the heart of every patient he meets. He guides his electric wheelchair into just about every patient's room on the fourth floor of Longmont United Hospital. 
 
"Hi, my name is John. I'm a volunteer here and I'm just coming to make sure you have everything you need," Maher says to one patient. 
 
Maher is one of many Patient Ambassadors at the hospital. 
 
"It is a fancy title for: I get to meet people, and I get to talk to people," Maher said. 
 
Maher has been volunteering as a Patient Ambassador for four years. 
 
"Everyone has a story. I'm Irish and I like to talk, so there's always something going on," Maher said. 
 
Maher does much more than talk. He listens, and he cares. 
 
"He has been a patient so he really empathizes with our patients. And he is also a man of faith; very inspirational in his stories to our patients," said Laura F. Kinder, Dir. of Volunteer and Spiritual Care Services, Longmont United Hospital. 
 
Maher battles multiple sclerosis, but it sure doesn't slow him down. He is at the hospital twice a week reaching out to every patient he can. 
 
"He doesn't feel sorry for himself and that really, really touches me. He's a hero," said friend Crystal Wasinger. 
 
Many patients in the hospital are understandably concerned about their health and anxious to get home. Maher encourages them during every visit. He understands that volunteering is really a two way street. You touch others by giving, and they in-turn enrich your life. 
 
"One of the coolest things for me is when they ask me to come back. They're like: 'John, come back, we'll talk more." That's like heaven," Maher said.
 
To learn more about volunteering at Longmont United Hospital go to www.luhcares.org/volunteer.
 
Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.
 

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