5 questions with Sherry Montgomery
Sherry Montgomery is a volunteer counselor and phlebotomist for the Resource Center of Dallas’ Nelson-Tebedo Community Clinic. She was named the center’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year for 2005. The clinic is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. HIV testing, with counselors on hand, is offered Monday through Thursday, from 3:13 p.m. to closing. Call 214-528-2336 for appointments.
1. How long have you volunteered for the clinic?
I have been here for six years. I started out working at the front desk. Then I decided I wanted to be a counselor, so I went through training for that. Then I decided I wanted to draw blood, so I went through training for that, too. Now, I can stay with the clients through the whole process, from counseling before the test, to actually drawing the blood and counseling with them when they come back.
2. What prompted you to become a volunteer at the clinic?
I actually came here to get tested myself, and I just loved the way I was treated. I had worked as a volunteer in public schools for about 20 years, I just decided I wanted to do something different.
3. How often do you work at the clinic?
I am always here on Thursdays, and then I fill in when they are short on staff or when there is a special event, or if someone goes on vacation. I would work here all the time if I could.
4. How do you avoid getting burned out in such a high-stress volunteer job?
I think a lot of it has to do with the people I work with. There’s such a good balance of having fun and working. Plus, it’s rewarding to feel like you are doing something that really helps people. That fills you up, and it’s hard to get burned out when you feel so good about what you do. And you just feel so appreciated doing this job. There hasn’t been one night that I have left here that I haven’t been thanked by the staff, the volunteers, the clients. It’s wonderful.
5. How did you feel when they called your name as Volunteer of the Year?
I was totally shocked. I had gotten an award the year before, and I thought that was it. You don’t win twice. So I really didn’t expect it. I was just blown away.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 19, 2006.