Congratulations to Dennis Caffrey – instructor, trainer and interpreter for TLC for many years – on being recognized by Hands On Nashville with a Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Award for his volunteer work with Siloam Health.
As Siloam navigated serving on the frontlines of the pandemic with an incredibly diverse patient base, Dennis was the steady go-between communicator as staff cared for COVID-19 patients, educated others about the risks of the coronavirus, and eventually began administering vaccines to patients. His help in not only interpreting one language from another but overcoming cultural barriers ensured patients felt comfortable, heard, and that their needs were being met.
Dennis started to learn Spanish when he was 8-years-old, and advanced his knowledge of the language throughout college. Dennis spent 15 years of his Air Force career working in and with Latin America. Shortly after retiring from the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., he and his wife moved to Murfreesboro, TN.
“After about four months of ‘doing nothing,’ I took a course to become a medical interpreter and it was there that I learned about Siloam,” Dennis says. “It seemed like the perfect way for me to share my language and cultural skills while helping our non-English speaking neighbors deal with their health needs. That was by far the best decision I made since retirement.”
Dennis began volunteering with Siloam in 2010, and has been volunteering longer than the majority of Siloam Health’s staff. In 2020, he reached the milestone of 5,000 hours served with Siloam, completing 500 of those last year alone.