James Carlson, president of OHCA, with Sarah Winkler, volunteer, and Harold Delamarter, OHCA board of directors chair

Sarah Winkler, a volunteer at Life Care Center of Coos Bay, received the Oregon Health Care Association Volunteer of the Year Award on Sept. 19, 2017.


The award was presented at the OHCA Annual Convention Awards Luncheon in Portland.


Winkler, who is also the wife of Executive Director Jesse Winkler, has been volunteering at Life Care Center of Coos Bay for two years. She started when her son, McKinley, was just 4 days old, and he has been her co-volunteer.


“I longed to have an impact on people’s lives and use my gifts to help others,” said Winkler. “So I dove in!”


Winkler visits many residents one on one, helps with group activities and takes photos at the facility’s annual Thanksgiving luncheon. When her son was just a baby, she let residents hold him, which helped them to reminisce about their own babies.


“He would even fall asleep in some of the residents’ beds while they held them,” Winkler shared, “which gave me the opportunity to have personal conversations with the residents.”


McKinley gave an opportunity to get residents involved in a fun activity this summer: playing with bubbles in the facility’s courtyard.


Winkler has visited a resident in the hospital and brought her laptop with her so the resident could watch her favorite TV show, “Dancing with the Stars.” She also planned a Christmas candlelight service this past Christmas Eve so residents could experience this holiday tradition, complete with live worship and a sermon.


“My mother always taught me to be a giving person and to celebrate people,” Winkler said. “I love being a part of people’s lives and making an ordinary day extraordinary.”


Anyone interested in volunteering at Life Care Center of Coos Bay can contact Sandi Ellis, activity director, at 541-267-5433 or stop by the facility for more information.