Hospice Volunteers honored for outstanding service

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The Volunteers are the Foundation of Hospice Awards recognizes hospice volunteers who best reflect the universal concept of volunteerism in its truest sense—serving as an inspiration to others.

Chosen from more than 200 nominations, this year’s recipients are:

Clyde Day, a volunteer with Peterson Hospice in Kerrville, Texas, honored for organization support. In 1984, Clyde worked with other community members to donate their time and raise money to start Heart of the Hills Hospice in Kerrville. He helped negotiated the agreement between Peterson Memorial Hospital and the Hills Hospice which was the beginning of Peterson Hospice where he currently volunteers. Day’s service has included visiting patients, delivering flowers, sweeping floors, building shelves in the Thrift Store, as well as serving on the Board. 

Karen Jackson, a volunteer with Suncoast Hospice / Empath Health in Clearwater, Florida, was honored for Specialized Volunteer Service primarily for her work with the hospice’s perinatal loss doula program for which she has served since it began in 2004. With more than 1,600 hours of service, she has often served as the “voice” of the program, playing an instrumental role in public speaking events, attending advisory board meetings, and presenting the program at local and national events and conferences.

Ryan Regan, a young volunteer with Suncoast Hospice / Empath Health in Clearwater, Florida, was recognized for his contributions to the hospice’s Teen Volunteer Program. Since January 2014 he has contributed more than 1,000 volunteer service hours in support of more than 240 families. Regan was selected to serve as one of six members of the Suncoast Hospice Teen Volunteer Regional Leadership Board/North County. He is active in the recruitment of teen volunteers and serves as a mentor to young people coming into the volunteer program.

Colonel Patsy Thompson, a volunteer with Sutter Care at Home Hospice in Roseville, California, was honored for Specialized Volunteer Service. In her twentieth year of volunteering for the hospice, she began by visiting patients with her spouse and their dog Pretzel. Now, Thompson has taken the lead of the “We Honor Our Veterans” ceremony program where she has been honored by the community and continues to serve with gusto.

Ingrid Watt, another volunteer with Suncoast Hospice / Empath Health in Clearwater,  was recognized in the Patient and Family Support category.  She began her volunteer journey with Suncoast Hospice in 1993 and has provided over 2,900 hours of service in caregiver relief, transportation, Transitions Companion visits, and bereavement support for patients and their families. Through her volunteer work, she has become a Reiki Master and uses this therapeutic technique in her work with patients.

“Volunteers play an integral role in hospice care and each and every one deserves recognition and the highest accolades.  From direct patient support and caregiver relief to board service and community outreach and education,  hospice volunteers selflessly give of their time to serve patients and families who are facing end-of-life challenges and are integral to the hospice programs for which they serve,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. 

NHPCO reports that there are more than 430,000 trained hospice volunteers contributing more than 19 million hours of service to hospice organizations across the country.

“At our event in Florida, we recognized five volunteers who have shown remarkable dedication, compassion, and commitment.   We often say that volunteers are the heart of hospice.  Their gift of caring has a profound impact on patients and families and we cannot say thank you enough for the support they provide,” Schumacher remarked.

These volunteer awards were created and administered by NHPCO’s National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals, a section of the organization’s membership that promotes the contributions and skills of the different professional disciplines that make up the hospice interdisciplinary team.