Volunteers make a difference: Allen Marler

Hillcrest Healthcare welcomes individuals, families and groups to volunteer at our three communities. Our volunteers are wonderful and provide so much encouragement and joy to our residents. We appreciate their dedication to helping others.

Allen Marler volunteers weekly at both Beverly Park Place and Island Home, conducting church services on the weekend.

“I joined Valley View Baptist Church in January 2017, ” Allen says. “A church member, David Young, became a mentor to me and was such an inspiration. He had a nursing home ministry at Beverly Park Place. He was in his 70s at the time, and asked others to help. I started going in 2017 and the more I went, the closer I grew to the Lord. The residents loved him, and he loved the residents so much. David is with the Lord now, but I knew I wanted to continue what he started.”

Allen continued serving at Beverly Park Place each week until the COVID-19 pandemic halted outside volunteers due to health concerns. Once it was safe for volunteers to return, he jumped back in to conducting services.

Then, he went to visit a church member who was at Island Home and left his number for Cheryl Weaver, director of activities. She called and told him that the South Knoxville community no longer had someone conducting weekly services, so now Allen goes there every Sunday.

Allen also assists with worship services at BeeHive Homes, an assisted living community in Powell, and his wife, Elsie, is starting a women’s Bible study there. “She’s a tremendous blessing,” he shares.

The importance of volunteering

“I never would have imagined that I would be doing this,” Allen says. “I feel that anyone – not just Christians – should follow their heart or their Lord to help and be an encouragement to those in nursing homes. They need so much love and kindness.”

Allen has a soft spot for the team members at both communities as well. “I’m so thankful that the communities let volunteers come in, and Cheryl Weaver, Susan Smith (activities director at Beverly Park Place) as well as so many other team members are such wonderful people,” he says. “It’s a blessing working with them.

“I’ve been told that it takes a special person to do this, and I’ve thought about that a lot. I believe that everyone needs to help somebody – especially our elderly people. These dear people are still smiling, and I want others to hear their stories, hear their laughter. I ask everyone to just give a chance – come one time. The dearest, sweetest people are at nursing homes. Some may be on the doorstep of heaven, and I believe God wants us to be there with them, because he loves them so much. I consider them all family and I go there to encourage them, and I feel like I’m being encouraged!”

Allen has bigger goals to grow the ministry through volunteers who will help with messages and music and wants to ultimately minister to 10 local facilities.

Get involved!

If you have a talent to share or time to serve, we encourage you to fill out our volunteer form. Volunteers are welcome to assist with activities such as game nights and festivals; share a talent such as magic or music; lead community crafts; do building and grounds maintenance such as painting, weeding or planting; or even help with administration or events with our non-profit partner, Hillcrest Healthcare Foundation. We’ll find a spot for individuals or groups, so reach out today.

Watch for more profiles on some of our awesome volunteers and follow us on Facebook to keep up with all that’s going on in our three communities.