SOUTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — The sounds of soothing piano music in Lee Health's Health Park complex are a sign of a new chapter in the pandemic: Some of Lee Healths' 3200 volunteers are back after a year away.
"It was tough, for this past year, to be idle," says Mario Escobar who is one of the volunteers who plays the piano in Health Park's atrium.
"And it's just wonderful to feel that I'm back to do the things I love to do the most, which is music," he says.
Volunteer Jerry Sushil says the same thing about coming back to his volunteer role as a trolley driver for Health Park.
"It's like a child at Christmas," he says.
"It was a long year without volunteering."
"So, it's really great to be back and helping," he adds.
Lee Health's Director of Volunteer Services, Teresa Frank-Fahner, says the plan is to bring back the volunteers in three phases.
They're currently in phase one of bringing back volunteer positions where it's relatively easy to maintain social distance.
"The volunteers are so excited to come back," says Teresa.
"I gotta tell you," she adds, "there's one lady she started to cry."
"She just said, 'I have missed my health family so much. I'm so happy to be able to come back.'"
Lee Health's coordinator for Arts & Health Care, Doug MacGregor, says having the first wave of volunteers come back is a big step forward.
"It makes you feel like we're getting back to some kind of normalcy," says Doug.
"It soothes your soul."