CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – In the world we live in today, social media gives us instant access to anything. But is it really what we need? Sometimes that might just be as simple as a “hello” or even a smile.

Leon Lomax might not be a doctor or a nurse but he’s still an important part of the OSF hospital staff. Lomax volunteers at the hospital once a week.

“They help the staff provide that extra support, sometimes when they came back from the pandemic, they said we’re not really doing anything, but they were even as staff loved to see them back in the building,” Linda Tauber-Olsen, Director of Volunteer Services at OSF said.

“I’ve always been around to try and help people in some form or another,” Leon Lomax said.

Volunteering is in his blood. Before deciding to become a greeter, he put his life on the line. He served 29 years in the military and says that experience has carried over to the hospital.

“It’s something new every day that you run in to and it’s hard to say exactly what, but you learn how to adjust, and being in the military also helped me out a lot, being able to adjust to any situation,” Lomax said.

Lomax said giving of himself is what it’s all about. Whether it’s a simple “hello” or a smile, he’s glad to be helping out.

Tauber-Olsen said Lomax is full of stories and gives people a reason to laugh.

“He’s got a rich history, past, he’s been involved in a lot of things and we learn a lot from him,” Tauber-Olsen said. “It’s viable to put yourself out there to help people. This world we have today, we have a lot of crime, we have a lot of stuff that is not conducive to the human being.”

Lomax said he’s hoping by volunteering, it encourages others to come forward.

“We’re starting to get people back, young people that are at the U of I that are in medicine. They have a choice to come over here and work as a volunteer to figure out what they want to do in medicine,” Lomax said.

Every volunteer is different and touches people’s life in a different way. Lomax’s duties include helping people find room numbers and taking mail down to where it needs to be.

Tauber-Olsen said his presence is felt in so many different areas.

“I enjoy conversing with people and that is the other thing I like to do,” Lomax said.

He said if more people like him were a part of the process, the world would be a better spot.

“If we had more people that are consencious and want to help, instead of trying to hurt, this would be a much better world,” Lomax said.

He said volunteering is gratifying and he hopes he can continue to do it for years to come.

Tauber-Olsen said volunteers help the staff provide that extra support, especially after the pandemic. She said it’s one big family.