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2022 Healthcare Hero: Ray Radovich

Winner Category: Volunteer Employer: Gaylord Specialty Healthcare • Title: Volunteer peer mentor, Gaylord Specialty Healthcare; Volunteer golf coach, Gaylord Sports Associate Return to honoree page
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Ray Radovich is a former Gaylord patient who has logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours as an acquired brain injury peer mentor, providing support and acting as a resource for Gaylord’s stroke and brain-injured inpatients. He is also an adaptive golf coach with Gaylord’s Sports Association and an assistant in Gaylord’s library.

What have been your significant contributions to your organization in the past year?

In 2011, I suffered a heart attack that put me in cardiac arrest for an hour. At Gaylord, I had to relearn the basics of everything. And that’s why I come back each week: to give hope to those who don’t know what the future holds.

As a peer mentor, I am there to not only inspire and support brain injury and stroke patients, but also help them understand that recovery is not an overnight process. And as an adaptive golf coach, there’s nothing better than hearing someone say, ‘I never thought I would be able to do that again!’

Tell us about a challenge in your job that you were able to overcome.

Every patient here is going through a major life change. One patient cursed when I walked in his room, but he eventually opened up. His wife died and he was stressed about supporting his young son. I made it my mission to be his best cheerleader and later discovered how much my visits meant.

How has COVID-19 changed the way you do your job?

When the COVID pandemic put a temporary pause on hospital volunteers, we were asked to write a letter of encouragement that was distributed to anyone who would have benefited from seeing a peer mentor volunteer.

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