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Power of Service: Rolon volunteers locally, across the world

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Power of Service: Rolon volunteers locally, across the world

Harlingen – When you meet Zoila Rolon you see a nice, gentle grandmother, mother, sister, and friend. But, you have no idea just how incredible of a human being she is – until you sit down with her for a cup of coffee and hear her extraordinary story of service to others. Her service to others extends from Harlingen Medical Center, in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, all the way across the world to Medjugorje, a town located in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia. Her current role as a Special Project Volunteer and Pastoral Services Volunteer, at the award-winning and nationally recognized hospital, has her visiting patients and praying with those who wish to engage in prayer, taking communion to those who are unable to attend worship services, and completing special projects for the hospital's Marketing and Business Development Department. But, her desire to serve others comes from two unusual experiences in her life, having a troublesome teenager and experiencing an attempted car robbery.

Zoila Rolon portrait"I remember thinking in my mind, God please let me survive this and I will serve you as best I can," recalls Ms. Rolon of her attempted car robbery. "This man came out of nowhere and attacked me as I was walking to my car in a Houston parking lot. He started hitting my head, in an attempt to take my car keys away, and I put my hands on my head to protect myself. And, that's when I called out to God to save me. And, He did."

That experience, along with a troublesome teen, who skipped school, and later became a not so "ideal" mother, in Ms. Rolon's eyes, are what catapulted her to seek God, serve Him, and serve mankind.

"I wasn't too big on faith before these experiences, but, I am now," said Ms. Rolon. "I survived what to me was a horrible experience when someone tried to steal my car from me. And, after continuous prayer, and over the years, I witnessed the great changes in my troublesome teen into a responsible, loving and caring adult. She is now a U.S. Probation Officer for the State of California. I'm very proud of what she has done with her life."

And, if you personally know Ms. Rolon, you can't help but feel very proud of what she has accomplished with her life. To know that there are still people, in society today, who genuinely care about the well-being of others and making a difference in the lives of others.

"We are incredibly lucky to have Ms. Rolon serve as a special project and pastoral services volunteer at Harlingen Medical Center," said Manny Chacon, Director of Marketing and Business Development. "I have worked alongside Ms. Rolon since June of 2005 and she is an incredible testament to the power of service to others and the power of love towards others. Because, that is what I believe drives all people who volunteer. Love. They want to express that emotion and they do so by caring and assisting others as best they can."

Ms. Rolon has served others in many capacities. Currently, she serves hospital patients at Harlingen Medical Center in the role of Pastoral Services Volunteer. She visits patients in their rooms, she offers prayer, prayer agreement, words of spiritual support, and verbal Biblical scriptures, when the patient is unable to hold up and read the Bible. She does this with compassion, care, and humility.

"My service to others has all been led by God," said Ms. Rolon. "He has utilized my life as a tool to help others in need. And, I enjoy doing it. God has been very good to me. I am Blessed."

In addition to her role as a Pastoral Services Volunteer, Ms. Rolon also serves as a Special Project Volunteer for the Marketing and Business Development Department at Harlingen Medical Center.

"She does amazing work for us," said Chacon. "She has helped develop, structure and manage our communications and advertisement archive system. Any publication that prints something about Harlingen Medical Center, Ms. Rolon, gets her hands on it, extracts the content and carefully inserts into our archive system. This really helps us keep track of what is being written and shown about our hospital. She really helps to keep us abreast of what's being said about us."

Ms. Rolon also volunteers at a hospital in Harlingen and Brownsville, but her service extends beyond healthcare volunteering. The Catholic Church and its humanitarian efforts have also been blessed with her service.

"I sold everything I had. My house, my car, everything, and in 1990, I moved to Medjugorje in Bosnia," recalled Ms. Rolon. "I took the cash I made from selling everything and an American Express card, in case my mother needed me to come back for an urgent matter, and moved to volunteer alongside the Catholic Church and its efforts in the war-torn country of Bosnia. When I arrived, there was so much need for everything. The war had not started yet, but, it eventually came. I stayed on as a volunteer with the Catholic Church and they helped to take care of me. People over there were kind, inviting and caring."

She volunteered for the Catholic Church, and stayed in Bosnia for two years, planning and managing many pilgrimages from the United States over to Bosnia, and more specifically Medjugorje. The pilgrims went from the U.S. to visit the site of Virgin Mary apparitions. She volunteered to work with Americans who were in the area – working on behalf of the Catholic Church. She volunteered to work closely with the local American embassy. She served as a secretary to a Catholic priest in a local church. She assisted with translations.

"After I left Bosnia I made several trips between the U.S. and Bosnia," recalled Ms. Rolon. "I helped to secure and deliver much needed medicine, medical supplies, medical equipment, clothing, food and more. I had official letters from Catholic Church supported entities requesting the help and I was responsible for ensuring these things were secured and taken back to Bosnia."

Ms. Rolon serves, as a volunteer, in both hospitals in the City of Harlingen, one in Brownsville, the Senior Companion Program, continues to do missionary work in border Mexican towns, and also serves the American Red Cross.

"April is National Volunteer Week and it is our privilege to recognize the extraordinary contributions of Ms. Rolon and all of our hospital volunteers," said Michael Fray, Volunteer Services Coordinator. "Each one of our volunteers come in and does so much for our patients, our staff and our physicians, and they all do it because they have a desire to serve others. "

Volunteers are involved in many areas of Harlingen Medical Center and opportunities are available in many departments. To learn more about the Pastoral Services and/or Volunteer Services Program at Harlingen Medical Center, please call 956-365-1888 or 956-365-1848. You may also learn more by logging onto the hospitals' website at