Phyllis Holcomb Named Brooks Volunteer of the Year


Jan 17, 2017

In 2009, Phyllis Holcomb was scheduled for vein graft surgery in her leg to correct poor circulation. A one day hospital stay turned into three months.

After two failed surgeries, Phyllis’ left leg had to be amputated. She then went into respiratory arrest and was place in an induced coma. When she was transferred to Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital 2 ½ weeks later, she was weak and barely able to sit up. She had to begin learning how to live as an amputee.

“Brooks is a real motivator. There is no time to lie around and feel sorry for yourself. You get right up and start moving forward,” said Phyllis.

Phyllis transitioned from hospital care to skilled nursing to outpatient therapy. While attending an appointment, Phyllis saw information about the Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program (ASRP). She decided to give it a try and asked a friend to go with her to bowling. The doors opened up from there.  Phyllis began regularly participating in bowling, billiards and yoga. She has been water skiing, surfing and will soon try kayaking.

The next door opened when someone asked her if she’d be interested in volunteering at Brooks. At first she wondered if she’d be able to help, but she and the staff quickly realized she had a lot to offer. Four years ago, she started volunteering at a Brooks outpatient clinic helping to greet and guide patients. She received certification as apeer mentor for patients who have recently undergone an amputation.  She meets with them to answer questions and shares her own experiences.

“Phyllis has been our most dedicated and consistent peer visitor.  She always brings with her a positive attitude and a great outlook for our patients’ futures.  The staff and patients atBrooks are extremely fortunate to have someone as wonderful as Phyllis devoted to enhancing the experience of each and every person she encounters,” said Emily Buras, PT, DPT, Amputee Program Lead.

When Phyllis isn’t participating in adaptive sports, she is volunteering for the ASRP. She handles registration for most of their special events, especially tournaments.

“As the first person interacting with our customers, Phyllis is the face of our organization and the ASRP. She is always professional, warm, welcoming, helpful and friendly. She willingly assumes any responsibility assigned and offers to go above and beyond. She is both punctual and reliable. Phyllis is always there when she says she is going to be there. She is a tremendous ambassador for our program and the entire Brooks organization,” said Alice Krauss, Manager of the Brooks ASRP.

Phyllis’ favorite thing about volunteering is meeting new and interesting people. “The most important thing to remember is that everyone is different. Everyone recovers at their own pace. I encourage them all to have patience,” she said.

Congratulations Phyllis and thank you for all you do!

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