​Much appreciation to all who joined us on September 16 for our celebration of 40 years of Hospice Volunteers serving the residents of Hancock County!  Held via Zoom, the meeting took on a much different feel than it might have in another year, but many contributions combined to make it special.  Over 100 people registered to attend, with 87 links sent out ahead of time (some were viewing in pairs).  80 pieces of Momo’s cheesecake and 7 cheesecake gift cards were delivered ahead of time to allow us to “be together in our being apart”.

Dr. Ira Byock recorded and sent a special congratulatory message for us, local author Dr. Sam Harrington was our keynote speaker, and Noel Paul Stookey helped us celebrate with special song selections.

The HVHC staff each took a turn recognizing a unique group of our volunteers who, combined, make Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County what we are. Jody Wolford-Tucker gave a little history of the annual volunteer recognition award, including the early volunteer for whom the annual award is named, Zeke Dennett, who was known for his motto of “The more we do unselfishly, the more we live abundantly”, with all categories of volunteers being recognized this year, suitable to the 40th anniversary milestone.  The first group of volunteers recognized were Board members for their commitment to their roles of fiduciary and financial responsibilities, and their creativity in finding multiple ways to serve our organization and our community.

Next was Office Manager Emilie Disney recognizing the service of Office Volunteers and Special Events Volunteers. Emilie began her tribute to these volunteers with a poem by Carolyn Treadway, The Force Field of Love. The hours of stuffing envelopes, staffing the office phone, representing us at community educational events, cooking and serving at programs, serving on committees, filing paperwork, taking on the myriad new duties and requirements that have arisen due to the coronavirus, were all extolled, for: just as each strand is important in a web, each volunteer is an important part of Hospice Volunteers, interconnected and supporting each other to create the whole, with much appreciation for all of these varied contributions.

Jane Cornman, Bereavement Services Coordinator, recognized the commitment and service of our Bereavement Support Volunteers, drawing a visual picture of the grief that someone experiences after losing a loved one and the comfort provided by our well-prepared and caring Bereavement volunteers, whose courage and open hearts make all the difference to those we serve who are struggling with their losses, making HVHC and the world a much better place.

Lori Johnson, Program Director, rounded out our Volunteer Recognition section of the evening by honoring the service of our Patient Care Volunteers. Beginning with a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lori set the stage with “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’”  She answered the question with: Patient Care and Evensong volunteers, for being such an extraordinary team of incredibly dedicated, good spirited, compassionate, and selfless volunteers. YOU All Simply AMAZE ME. Through the many creative ways that our Patient Care Volunteers have continued to serve their patients and families through the pandemic, Lori asserted:  You let them know you never left – that they are not alone – that you are still there for them….  Pandemic or no pandemic – our volunteers have not stopped serving. You keep showing up where you can. You shoulder pain when so many others are not able to; you provide your presence and your time; You sing and you breathe peace into the homes you visit.

Thank you, HVHC Volunteers, for 40 years of making the world a better place, and making the rough roads of life a bit easier!