Think you couldn’t be a hospice volunteer? Even the simplest acts of love and kindness can make a significant and lasting impact on those traveling the difficult end-of-life road. Shepherd’s Cove Volunteer Coordinator Karen Denton shares below the story of volunteer Janet Zerzanek, whose caring demeanor and sweet phone calls touched the heart of one son as he prepared to say goodbye to his mother.

Volunteer Coordinators Karen Denton, left, and Carrie Leeth, right, present volunteer Janet Zerzanek, middle, with her Purple Sheep. Staff and volunteers receive a Purple Sheep when they are recognized by patients and families we serve for outstanding service.

I remember the day vividly when a very nice soft-spoken lady, Ms. Janet Zerzanek, came into the Shepherd’s Cove office saying she was interested in volunteering. We spoke about the different opportunities that were available for volunteers. She completed her training session in the spring of 2016 and has been contributing to our organization in a great way since that time.

Janet brings many skills to the table; she is kind and caring to those around her and is an excellent baker. On top of those talents, she is assigned the weekly task of contacting our patients and their family members via phone to “tuck them in” for the weekend, ensuring they have the medications, supplies, etc. they might need until their case manager visits in the coming week.

Janet’s compassionate sweet voice is so reassuring to our patients and their caregivers. It provides comfort knowing that she genuinely cares, and she develops a friendship of sorts with them as they speak each week. Her kind demeanor provides an exceptional level of comfort to folks. Many look forward to their Thursday morning chats and hearing from her.

SCH recently received a note of appreciation from the son of a patient that passed. In his acknowledgement for the services provided, he personally mentioned Janet’s name and how much her kindness meant to him.  She was one of his “constants” in the end-of-life journey that he was traveling with his precious mother. Her calls validated her care and concern for him, as well as his mother, as she diligently sought to meet their needs.

Janet was recently presented with a Purple Sheep as commendation for a job well done. She was moved to tears as she received this honor and spoke of how much making these phone calls have impacted her life.

Getting a blessing by giving one – this is something that anyone can do. Each person possesses unique talents and we encourage you to share yours with Shepherd’s Cove.  There is a place for everyone!

You see, the impact of a hospice volunteer has a rippling effect, bringing comfort to families and caregivers, as well as patients. All it takes is a little effort and great love.

Next week is National Volunteer Week, and we want our volunteers to know just how much we appreciate them. They’re dedication impacts our agency in ways we could never express!

If you’re interested in volunteering, fill out the volunteer application here or call 256-891-7724.