Veteran volunteer Joe Horst receives MUSC’s top honor


Wednesdays are special days for Joe Horst, an active parishioner of Stella Maris Church on Sullivan’s Island. On Wednesdays, he makes his way across the Cooper River Bridge into Charleston. For Horst, it’s been that way for the past 416 weeks since 1993.

Horst is a Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) volunteer and was recently named the 2001 Ann D. Edwards Volunteer of the Year at the annual awards banquet held at the North Charleston Convention Center.

“I really look forward to my Wednesdays,” said Horst, whose shy modesty belies his active volunteerism, from delivering flowers and filing paperwork to troubleshooting computer glitches and doing research. “It is an honor to be part of something that I, and many others, truly enjoy doing. That is volunteering,” he said.

Horst began his early volunteer years working with the staff at MUSC’s Program in Bioethics under former director Mary Faith Marshall, Ph.D., and he is currently working with Dr. Sally Webb, vice chair of MUSC’s Ethics Committee and clinical associate professor of pediatrics.

Horst also shares his time in other areas including pediatric psychology, the College of Medicine and sometimes assists MUSC Volunteer Manager Susanne Banks and her volunteer staff.

Originally from South Bend, Ind., Horst was a graduate of hospitality management at the University of Cincinnati. He first moved to Charleston in 1965 from Tulsa, Okla., later relocating to California. But in 1969 he returned to Charleston and opened Dino’s Restaurant at the corner of Courtney and Cannon streets. His customers were faithful MUSC students, employees and patients who would enjoy and dine on Italian foods. For the next 20 or so years, he helped to manage seven restaurants in the Charleston and Beaufort areas.

In 1992, he returned to MUSC in a different role. Horst was admitted for open heart surgery. He became so impressed with the care rendered to him that he was moved to complete a volunteer application almost immediately after being discharged.

In addition to his volunteer work, Horst works part time for Great Beach Vacation Property Service in the Isle of Palms. He and his wife, Janice, share their home with two pets, a dog and cat.

“I was totally surprised,” Horst said, about receiving the volunteer award. “I cherish my role as a volunteer.”

This year marks the 30-year anniversary of MUSC’s Volunteer Program. More than 650 individuals participate as volunteers throughout the university and medical center. The Ann D. Edwards Volunteer award is MUSC’s highest recognition of service and dignity. It was created in 1990 and honors MUSC’s former first lady.

Cindy Abole is with public relations at the medical university. This article originally appeared in The Catalyst at MUSC.