Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley honors Massena, Potsdam, Canton, Gouverneur volunteers
POTSDAM -- Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley recently honored Massena, Potsdam, Canton and Gouverneur residents at their Volunteer Recognition Breakfast and annual meeting.The 2015 event was the 30th celebration of the volunteer efforts to support Hospice.
“We look forward to this event each year,” said Brian Gardam, Executive Director of Hospice. Presented with the Louis E. LaGrand Volunteer of the Year award were Darrell Dailey of Massena and Pricilla Dickey from Gouverneur. Recognized as Outstanding Veteran Volunteer was David Pearson of Canton. Members of the Massena Rotary Club and volunteer Amber Rheome, Potsdam, were awarded the Bonnie Spears Hearts in Hands award.
Dailey is a United States Army veteran. He is very active as a direct patient volunteer. “The words no, can’t do, I’m not available are never spoken by this man” said Jennifer Brailsford, Volunteer Coordinator as she presented the award. Mr. Dailey has been a Hospice volunteer for 6 years. In addition to regular visits with patients, he participates in veteran pinning ceremonies which provide a certificate of appreciation and pin to patients in honor of their service in the military.
Dickey was also presented with the Louis E. LaGrand award for her efforts. She has been a Hospice volunteer for 11 years and is very confident in her role which is often displayed in her work with the patients and families. She has been instrumental in helping to guide and shape the volunteer program. “Pricilla is a valuable asset to our organization and her many years of service are very much appreciated” said Jennifer Brailsford.
Pearson was recognized as an Outstanding Veteran Volunteer for his work with the Hospice Veterans Partnership and in the Vet to Vet program. As Commander of his local VFW Post #1231 in Canton, David brings a unique perspective to the Hospice Veterans Partnership which was created as part of Hospice’s involvement in the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s We Honor Veterans Program. He rarely misses a pinning ceremony and regularly visits veteran patients in the home.
Rheome was also presented with the Hearts and Hands award. She has been offering her services to Hospice since 2012 and is dedicated to making “fits”; a coping tool often given to Hospice families and community members who are grieving the loss of a friend or loved one. Fits help individuals to express difficult emotions encountered as they move through the grief process, by keeping Hospice supplied with this coping tool Amber greatly contributes to health grieving for many community members. “We always look forward to seeing Amber when she delivers a new supply of fits” said Jennifer Brailsford. “She is always smiling and loves helping her community in this special way.”
The Bonnie Spears Hearts and Hands award is presented each year to a group or individuals who do not work directly with Hospice patients and their families, but contribute greatly to the services provided. This year, members of the Massena Rotary Club received this award in recognition of their many years of service as celebrity wait staff at Tastes of Autumn. Over the course of the 14 year event, nearly $90,000 was raised in support of Hospice services.
“The Rotarians added greatly to the tradition of the event at Violi’s,” said Kellie Hitchman, Director of Development and Community Relations. “They waited tables in their tuxedos and provided exquisite service for our guests each year. Their friendly competition to see who could earn the most in tips to support Hospice always added a bit of fun for them. This group truly exemplifies the Rotary motto: service above self and we are very grateful for their many years involvement in the event.” she continued.
“Volunteers are critical to our organization. Our direct care volunteers go into the homes of our patients and families to assist with whatever their needs may be. They may visit with the patient while the caregiver gets much needed rest, they may read a book or newspaper to the patient to keep them up to date on current events or even do some grocery shopping” he explained. “We also have a number of very dedicated volunteers who help with administrative tasks at the office or get involved in fundraising and special events. Whatever capacity they are involved, each and every volunteer has a hand in helping Hospice bring important services to the members of our community,” Gardam said.
In 2014 Hospice Volunteers gave 5,310 hours of their time and drove 38,458 miles to support the work of Hospice. “We realize this is time out of their daily lives, away from their own home and family,” said Jennifer Brailsford. “Our volunteers give freely of their time to ensure our patients remain comfortable in their home, surrounded by the love of their family. There truly is no greater gift” she finished.
For more information about becoming a volunteer for Hospice, contact Jennifer Brailsford at 265-3105.