The family that volunteers together, stays together

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2023

For the Bagwell family, service is part of their DNA. William, Jennifer, Will and Emmaline have served as a family with Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) for decades.

The family’s relationship with NGHS began with William’s grandfather, A.D. Bagwell, who was serving as a Hall County Commissioner at the time the Hall County Hospital was constructed and opened at the current site of the South Patient Tower. It continued with his father, W.A. “Dub” Bagwell who represented NGHS as legal counsel and later by his daughter Emily. For William and Jennifer, their service began when they attended their first Marketplace Preview Party – an event kicking off the holiday shopping season.

“It was quite an impactful night,” Jennifer said. “What’s better than a festive gathering of community members shopping and enjoying wonderful food, all while benefiting our local hospital? I was and eager to learn more and get involved with Marketplace.”

This is where our journey with the Health System began. After that night, she was invited to serve on the Marketplace committee and then as finance chair for the Auxiliary board. In 2010, she was asked to serve alongside Meg Nivens and Beverly Filson as one of the tri-chairs of Marketplace. In 2014, she became president of the NGHS Auxiliary, then served on the NGHS Foundation board. She and her husband, William, were asked to serve as chairs of the Laurel Society with the Foundation, and, currently, Jennifer serves as finance chair for the Auxiliary and a Window Shop volunteer.

The spirit of volunteerism does not end with them, though.

“We feel strongly about giving back to our community,” William said. “We have both served in different capacities throughout the years. I think volunteering has an even greater meaning since having children. We realize the importance of teaching children at an early age what community means and the benefit of giving of one’s time and talents, an example which was modeled by our family through the generations. It’s important to plant seeds, to plan and to prepare for tomorrow. Our family has been involved with the health system for several decades, and our children both continue that legacy.”

Will began volunteering with the system at 15. As a teen volunteer, he was able to work and learn in different areas within the hospital.

“Volunteer Services does a great job supporting teen volunteers,” Will said. “They try to place us in areas we are interested in. But, more than that, they take the time to get to know the teens serving and make them feel appreciated. I have great memories of my summers volunteering.”

Emmaline officially began volunteering at 16, but prior to that, she had many hours under her belt with Marketplace.

“I was most excited when I was old enough to be a Teen Volunteer and help in the hospital,” said Emmaline. “Most recently, my mom and I have served in the Window Shops, which has also been rewarding in many ways. It’s a great feeling to help others, offer kind words or share a smile. I have found it is the little things, many times, that seem to make a difference. I am forever grateful to them for their kindness and the interest they have taken in me personally.”

“I feel proud to volunteer at NGHS,” Jennifer said. “I’m honored to serve among many dedicated men and women willing to give of their time and talents for the greater good of our community. We are fortunate to have this level of health care available to our community. I am grateful to all who serve and who remain so steadfast and dedicated.”

“William, Jennifer, Will and Emmaline have given more than 2,500 hours of service to NGHS over the decades, but the impact their family has made through the generations far exceeds what can be measured in hours,” said Carol Burrell, president and CEO of NGHS. “Their family has been fundamental in making NGHS what it is today and their continued investment in the system through their volunteerism shows profound generosity.”

Interested in volunteering?

Volunteers are the heart of NGHS. They are integral to our work and have a positive impact on patients, staff, and community members alike.