Celebrating National Volunteer Week

Debbie Jones
Debbie Jones, Volunteer Services Manager, Gilchrist Hospice Care

“Every day thousands of unsung heroes bring caring and compassion to the lives of millions. Their names are never featured in the headlines, but our world would be a much darker place without them.”

-Charles Devlin

Did you know that President Richard Nixon officially created National Volunteer Week in 1974? In that same year, the first hospice, run entirely by volunteers, opened its doors in Connecticut, changing the way compassionate care was provided to terminally ill patients. Forty years ago, hospice began as a grassroots, volunteer-driven movement, and to this day volunteers remain an integral part of this care. We at Gilchrist Hospice Care, celebrating 20 years of hospice service to the community, are proud of our 450 current volunteers and of the hundreds of past volunteers who have helped us provide the finest in end of life care since 1994. Over the past two decades, volunteers have played a crucial role in our growth by contributing over 350,000 hours of direct patient care and bereavement support. Without the strong support of our volunteers, Gilchrist would not have been able to provide comfort, hope, respect and dignity at the end of life’s journey.

Each and every one of our dedicated volunteers is an unsung hero, bringing compassion, respect, and a comforting presence to our patients. Their countless acts of kindness, whether large or small, truly inspire all of us at Gilchrist Hospice Care. Whether they visit with a patient in their home or long term care facility, run an errand, sit by the bed as a doula, play music at the bedside, greet families at Gilchrist Center, bake cookies, provide caring touch or Reiki, support our bereaved clients or help with administrative tasks, they make a difference.

To say I am proud and inspired by our volunteers is an understatement. It is truly a rewarding experience and continues to be a delight to work with so many dedicated and selfless individuals who never say “no” when we ask for help.

As National Volunteer Week comes to an end, we want to say again…the entire Gilchrist Hospice Care staff sends their deep gratitude to all of our current and past volunteers for helping us complete the circle of care by meeting the individual needs of our patients and their families.

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