LA ranks near bottom for volunteerism

National Volunteer Week encourages people across the country to give back to their communities. Richard Ott, a volunteer at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, is dedicated to making others happy.

"We all need smiles whether we are in a hospital or on the street. Just meeting someone in the hall and speaking to them and asking them how their day is going makes a world of difference. When you're under stress and in a difficult situation like surgery and have critically ill family members you need that even more," said Ott.

The statistics will not make you smile. Louisiana is near the bottom in volunteer rates ranked 47th in the nation, according to Volunteering in America. Utah is the top volunteer state. The bayou state has 690,000 volunteers each year giving over 90 million hours of their time.

Volunteerism is growing, according to Volunteering in America. 63.4 million Americans volunteered in 2009 which is up over a million than the year before.

"I've lived here most of my life and my children were born here, my wife was born here and we have a lot of history," said Ott about his connection to the community.

He added that the patients he comforts help him in return.

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