Longtime hospital volunteer honored
Carleen Mark stayed at hers for 40 years without ever being paid.
Mark, a lifelong Pearland resident, recently retired from her volunteering duties at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, where she had worked at the information desk since the early 1970s. The time she spent at the hospital was not simply a side project or a way to spend her free time. It was a pursuit that she considers to have been her career.
“My career was to volunteer,” Mark said. “That’s all I’ve ever done is just the volunteer work. I had no other career except housewife.”
For the past 40 years, Mark has served as Clear Lake Regional Medical Center’s living, breathing information directory, using her experience to guide visitors and assist with virtually any question a patient might have about the facilities. Every Thursday, Mark would be a fixture at the information desk, where she worked from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“I answered the phone and took calls for people that wanted to be connected to patients’ rooms,” Mark said. “People came up needing departments to have tests run, and I would tell them where to go. That’s the main thing, people needing information to find their way around the hospital.”
Mark has been a part of the institution since the beginning, as she began her volunteer work the first week the hospital was open in 1972. To indicate their appreciation for all the years and hard work she put in to improve visitors’ experiences, the hospital honored Mark at their annual Christmas party.
“We have an annual Christmas party at the Lakewood Yacht Club, and I was invited,” Mark said. “I went in, sat down and there was a sign that said I was the honored guest. They presented me with a picture of the hospital and a diamond pin that night. I was very surprised and felt important.”
Mark credits her long tenure as a volunteer to the people she got to spend time with, whether they were co-workers or visitors.
“(My favorite part of volunteering was) meeting the people I met, and the ones I worked with,” Mark said. “They are such nice, dedicated, caring people, and the friends I made over those 40 years were great. I’m a people person. I enjoyed helping the people.”
About Carleen Mark
Occupation: Retired volunteer
Community Connection: Lifelong Pearland resident
Fast Fact: Serves as vice president of Pearland Historical Society
Chris Marshall is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.