By Leslie Hast
The office party is a cliché we all know: co-workers stand awkwardly around a conference room, making idle small talk and munching on tired, store-bought refreshments under a few droopy streamers and balloons.
But the Pulmonary Clinic has found a way to break through this cliché. They combine office celebrations with volunteer efforts, and participation has skyrocketed.
It all started with the Work of Life Committee, the Pulmonary Clinic’s organizing body that usually planned office parties and recognized birthdays. About a year ago, they decided to shift focus to helping in the community, and the committee has never been more popular.
“It is more investing to give to others in need than to do for ourselves,” said Janet Morris, administrative assistant. “Now, we get more people wanting to participate and hear more feedback about it afterward.”
Morris estimates that 60 percent of the staff participates regularly in Work of Life activities.
The first service activity the committee organized was a trip to the Nashville Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter for men, women and children, and those visits soon became a signature event. They return monthly to serve meals at the shelter and try to get at least five people to commit to each visit.
Wendi Mason, interstitial lung disease coordinator, enjoys the opportunity to help others while socializing with co-workers outside the work setting.
“It’s not the same mundane work tasks, and people are completely different outside work. It’s very rewarding and helps bring us together.  It unifies us,” she said. “Back from the Mission, people talk about how it makes them feel. You get a wonderful feeling and realize that you are incredibly blessed to have a home, food on the table and a job.”
On their most recent visit, Mason estimates they served lunch to 200-300 people. The crew included four Pulmonary Clinic staff members and two teenage relatives. Staff is always encouraged to include their family members in all Work of Life activities.
Pulmonary Clinic staff comes together for community service
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