Phil Mutchnik is easy to track down — if he’s not at the movies catching the films most likely be nominated for an Oscar, he’s volunteering at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital four and sometimes, five days a week.

“I get a lot out of this myself,” he said. “I am not just doing this for myself, but it provides a lot of purpose in my life.”

Positive, dedicated and no stranger to the community hospital, Phil always knew he would become a volunteer when his wife passed away. Phil and his wife were married for more than 35 years, and she had ongoing health issues that often brought them to the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital emergency room. Instead of letting this space be a reminder of hard times, he decided to use his familiarity with the community hospital to act as a compassionate and helpful face for patients and families who find themselves in challenging situations.

“I like to interact with people, and I try to be as upbeat as possible. I always say that I can be here by choice – not everybody is,” he explained.

Phil has been a volunteer for almost six years now, and he has gradually increased his volunteer hours since then.

“This really is the most important thing in my life right now,” he said. Now, he is called on to help with anything from manning the information desk to completing deliveries, transporting patients and helping out with the volunteer orientation.

All of his hard work, dedication and service have not gone unnoticed: Phil was honored with the “Volunteer of the Year” award last year.

“It was very gratifying to get,” he said.

Another highlight of his time at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital is working alongside the student volunteers, he said.

“It’s exciting. I’m old enough to be their grandfather. I mean, I can remember the first color TV,” he said. “They have respect for the seniors here, and they are very positive.”

By Louise Cobb

Established in 1972, the volunteer services department at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital attracts, retains and recognizes qualified in-service volunteers. Phil is one of more than 200 dedicated volunteers, ranging in ages from 16 to 95, who provide their time and talent as volunteers in many areas in the hospital.