Jan Kaufman — a gift to Valley View Hospital shop | PostIndependent.com

Jan Kaufman — a gift to Valley View Hospital shop

When Jan Kaufman began volunteering at the Valley View Hospital gift shop in 1982, it was no bigger than a closet and there wasn't even a cash register to store money.

Workers used a cashbox for the $500 a month they received.

Now, 35 years later, she retires as manager of the shop, which has given away more than $500,000 in scholarship money. The Heart to Heart gift shop has grown into a centerpiece for one of western Colorado's top hospitals and a major benefactor to the Valley View Auxiliary.

"I've been very fortunate. Once my four boys grew up and were out of the house I had time to give," she said Friday, after a party the afternoon before recognized her long service. "So I started volunteering. It's hard for me to put in words how comfortable everyone is in the gift shop."

Over the years, the volunteer gift shop grew to a focal point in the community that gives out $35,000 a year in scholarship money.

"I didn't have a background in retail," she said. "It was a true learning and growing experience for me. I developed a lot of good relationships and friendships over time. It really provides a pleasant place for a little respite from the rest of the world."

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Valley View hosted a private retirement party Thursday for family and friends celebrating Kaufman's nearly four decades of volunteering.

"We are grateful for Jan's tireless work as a volunteer running the Heart to Heart gift shop," said Valley View CEO Gary Brewer. "Not only has Jan created a remarkable place for our patients, visitors and staff; her work has created a lasting legacy for so many. The proceeds from the shop have enabled the Valley View Auxiliary to fund scholarships for students across our community, support the Connie Delaney Medical Library and help the lactation program at the Family Birthplace. Thanks to Jan, Heart to Heart is no ordinary gift shop; it is truly extraordinary."

Added Kim Martin, lactation coordinator, "Under Jan's direction, we have been able to enhance lactation services for our patients and expand education for our staff. We are so grateful to Jan for encouraging us in our work."

The Heart to Heart Gift Shop at Valley View is staffed and managed by the auxiliary and volunteers.

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