“Volunteering is in my blood,” said Pat Call, a volunteer Certified Application Counselor. “It’s always been a part of my being.”
Pat comes from a lineage of volunteers. She grew up volunteering alongside her mother, who brought Pat along to help others in the community. Her mother’s generosity and compassion for others directly influenced Pat, whose own children and grandchildren have become volunteers in their own communities.
“I think parents share that with their children,” she said. “That’s something you just do; you don’t even think about it.”
When Pat moved to Asheville, she first volunteered with Asheville City Schools and later learned, by word of mouth, of Pisgah Legal Services. Impressed with the mission and staff, Pat decided that she would devote her time and attention to Pisgah.
As a Certified Application Counselor, Pat walks consumers through their health insurance options and helps them enroll onto a plan that best fits their needs. Doing so requires active and attentive listening skills to fully understand the consumer’s circumstance. For Pat, this also means making them feel comfortable, especially if they are uncomfortable discussing their personal lives.
In her second year of volunteering with Pisgah, Pat encountered a consumer who was seeking health insurance coverage but seemed particularly uncomfortable sharing personal information. Pat noticed hints of abuse and immediately notified a supervisor. Together, they were able to make the consumer comfortable enough to share her story and were then able to offer additional assistance.
“It’s always about thinking of how to help other people,” said Pat.
Now, she is approaching her ninth year assisting consumers with HealthCare.gov health insurance enrollments.
“I know so much more about health insurance than I did when I first started,” said Pat. “You learn a lot and I learn something every year.”
For Pat, this learning included navigating through challenges, beginning with a rapidly evolving HealthCare.gov in 2013, and most recently, a disruptive and jarring pandemic.
“It’s a little scary that we basically lost a year,” she admitted. But she also embraced optimism and acknowledged how personally fulfilling volunteering was, even amidst such uncertainty. “It gave us [volunteers] a reason to get up in the morning.”
Outside of volunteering, Pat enjoys hiking, knitting, and reading, but she devotes time out of her life to volunteering because she envisions a healthier population in Western North Carolina.
“Down the line, we are going to see less people jamming the emergency rooms,” she said. “We are going to see less people who have chronic illnesses because they will go to preventive care.”
Pat’s impact and contributions to the Health Justice Program will help bring that vision into fruition. She is the embodiment of compassion, and we are deeply grateful for her years of service with us.
Inspired by Pat’s story? Find out about volunteer opportunities with Pisgah Legal Services