They are the lifeblood of the Palmerton Hospital.

Which is why it was only fitting, then, that those who so unselfishly give of their time received their well-deserved pat on the back.

The Volunteer Recognition Program and New Member Tea of the Palmerton Hospital Auxiliary and Blue Mountain Health System got under way Tuesday with a welcome from Jenny Serfass, president of the Auxiliary.

Serfass, who marveled at the impressive number of hours accumulated by many of the volunteers, thanked them for their service to the hospital.

Joe Guardiani, vice president of BMHS Fund Development/Auxiliary Liaison, led the prayer, and told the volunteers "we do appreciate you all so much."

Priscilla Offen, past president, gave the flag salute.

Andrew Harris, President and CEO of BMHS, greeted those in attendance.

"We can't survive without you," Harris said. "The hospital needs you."

Harris stressed to the volunteers just how important their services are to the hospital.

"Thank you for everything you do," he said. "Thank you so much."

Serfass then gave the volunteer pledge, at which time she then presided over the awards presentation.

Those recognized with volunteer awards were as follows:

-50 hour certificates - June Andreas, Rita Goidich, Mary Levandusky, Iren Light, Rachel Symons, Betty Jane Thomas, and Justin Tondt.

- 100 hour pin - Debbie Brabec, Mary Gallagher, Levandusky, Light, and Symons.

- 500 hour pin - Perma Berger and Brenda Mull,.

- 1,000 hour pin - Tracey Gursky

- 2,000 hour pin - Lucille Bredbenner, Donald Frable, and Carol Heffelfinger

- 3,000 hour pin and plaque - Offen.

- 5,000 hour pin - Lois Rehrig.

- 7,000 hour pin - Alice Frable.

- 8,000 hour pin - Violet Strickland.

Serfass also welcomed new members as of April of 2012

Those recognized were Eleanor Babco, Suzanne Blose, Martha Cornejo, Marjorie Federanich, Marilyn Flexer, Paul Johnson, Jennifer Knauss, and Tondt.