Having a friend or family member in an emergency room is a frightening, stressful and confusing experience.

It’s during these trying times at Metroplex Health System’s Killeen emergency room that Noel Del Rosario steps in to help.

Del Rosario, a 64-year-old retired veteran and teacher, spends three days a week volunteering in the hospital’s emergency room. There, he acts as a sort of liaison between ER patients and their families, providing them with information and updates on their loved one’s condition, and offering them comfort during a difficult time.

“It’s hard for them when they aren’t able to (go) back and see their family member, sometimes they get there before the ambulance and don’t know what’s going on,” Del Rosario said. “I’m kind of a go-between, and I help keep them apprised of the patient’s status, and let them know what is going on.”

Del Rosario, who speaks Spanish, also helps translate information for those who do not speak English. He has been volunteering his time, about 16 hours a week, in the ER for the past four years.

“I moved out here so we could be closer to our grandson, and I was looking for something to do,” he said. “I’ve always been fascinated with hospitals and the ER, so I went and volunteered.”

Nance Travis, who heads the hospital’s volunteer service department, said Del Rosario is “irreplaceable” and not only volunteers in the ER, but works as a mentor, training other volunteers.

“He is very good at organization and dealing with stressful situations,” Travis said. “He also has a great sense of humor and is very compassionate, and that’s also very important.”

Travis said Del Rosario was one of the volunteers in the ER on Nov. 5, 2009, the day of the mass shooting at Fort Hood.

“He was there to help take care of those families who were all coming in,” she said. “He did everything he could for them, and he handled that crisis very well.”

For his part, Del Rosario said his work at the ER is a rewarding experience, and one that he looks forward to each week.

“Hospitals are a great place to volunteer; they are always looking for people who can help out,” he said. “It’s a great experience, because you can see the immediate results when you help someone. You are right there to see the results of what you have done.”

How to Help

Metroplex Hospital is at 2201 S. Clear Creek Road in Killeen. To find out more about volunteering at Metroplex, call (254) 519-8147.

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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