One of HELP's Most Valuable Players

Guest post by Yasmin Mayne, Red Cross blogger in Alberta

Every year more than 20,000 Albertans receive loans of walkers, canes, crutches and other health equipment, for free, thanks to Canadian Red Cross volunteers like Mike Pudelko.

Mike has been volunteering as a technician with the Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) for about three years now, and enjoys the work so much that he even comes in on his days off.

“It gets me out of the house and it keeps the mind active, and it keeps you working with people.” 

He was a technician before he retired and brings invaluable experience to the HELP program, as many of the donated items need to be cleaned and repaired before they can be loaned out to people.
In particular, the HubScrub machines, which clean and disinfect all donated health equipment, are challenging to operate for most volunteers, but not for Mike Pudelko.

“Mike is very good at figuring [the HubScrub] out,” said Wayne Dolen, Mike’s supervisor and equipment supply associate.“He’s built a good rapport with the company as well... and I basically leave that stuff to him to troubleshoot.”

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HELP volunteer Mike Pudelko fixes donated health equipment.

The HubScrubs need to be kept operable, as they not only service Calgary’s needs, but Red Deer’s as well.

“Every second week we do runs up to Red Deer and we take equipment from our inventory based on the list they send to us,” said Mike Pudelko. “And the dirty equipment they have collected throughout the week, we bring it back to Calgary. They don’t have a means of actually washing, cleaning, and disinfecting the equipment.”

In Alberta, there are six HELP depots in Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Grand Prairie, Lethbridge, Calgary and Red Deer. Whenever Dolen travels to these locations and needs help with the HubScrub machines, he calls Pudelko.

“We are one of the few offices in the province that do our own service on the HubScrub washing units because we have the expertise, and because of the people we have,” said Mike. 

According to Dolen, the HELP program would have had a very difficult year if Mike Pudelko was not around to help out the HELP program. “He’s got a real natural leadership ability, and he doesn’t take short-cuts.”
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