Sly Escamilla: Eleven Who Care Winner

9:30 AM, Jan 25, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Sly Escamilla touches people's lives for the briefest of moments, but it's usually at the moment they need it most.

"I just make them as comfortable as possible. They need information they can ask me," says Sly.

Five days a week, Sly volunteers at Hennepin County Medical Center's surgery waiting room. He makes sure families are kept up to date about their loved ones.

"It's helpful that someone here knows what's going on or when the doctors or nurses are coming in and the timing of everything, because otherwise, it's just a big black hole of time that doesn't pass very quickly," says Erica Hunt as she waits for her husband to come out of surgery.

There is little Sly doesn't do around the hospital. He makes the coffee, clears the linens and even escorts people to the recovery area to meet up with their loved ones. All of it, after he gets off from his full-time job taking care of people with disabilities.

"He really embodies everything HCMC stands for in one volunteer," says Volunteer Coordinator Anita Bilden.

Sly has been volunteering for almost 13 years and he was inspired to do so by his own stay at HCMC.

"You know, I was a patient here and I just wanted to give back because I was treated so well here," says Sly.

Sly fills in for other volunteers at the drop of a hat and knows the hospital like the back of his hand. He can give anyone directions regardless of where they're headed.

After 10,000 hours you would think Sly would be ready to take a day off, but he says he can't imagine not being here, not sharing in those moments.

"It fills your day and your life," says Sly.

HCMC has 240 active volunteers and Sly is a standout among them. The hospital has honored him with every award they have. When they ran out, they decided to nominate him for Eleven Who Care. With that kind of track record, it's easy to see why he is one of this year's winners!


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