Category Archives: Volunteers

Pam Picard – A Compassionate Healer that Emanates Warmth

When Pam Picard’s son Kyle was 9-years-old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and later Lyme disease.  Drawing on her background in holistic healing, she embarked on a journey to get him the best medical treatment available and tapped into every therapeutic modality possible to bring her son the comfort and relief he deserved.  Kyle remarkably recovered from his cancer and that experience moved Pam to help others.

One way she started to help others was by studying reiki – or energy work – something that many of her friends practiced.  Reiki is a very gentle touch (or no touch) healing modality.  It is extremely calming and relaxing, and can bring a sense of peace throughout the body.  Pam views herself as a “hollow bone” or “vessel” in which she can transmit healing energy through her hands to the recipients to provide them the calm and relief they may need.

Complementary Therapy Volunteers Pam Picard & Kim Schmus

After studying to be a reiki master, Pam had a dream about providing support to patients during surgery. That ultimately led her to Raven Keyes, a member of Dr. Oz’s surgical team, who performs reiki on patients in the operating room.  Feeling like this was a good omen, Pam reached out to Yale-New Haven Hospital and learned that they too had a role for reiki practitioner volunteers in clinical settings.  Once she was accepted to Yale’s volunteer team, she reconnected with Raven and inspired her to coordinate training for Medical Reiki™ practitioners.  Pam completed this specialized training a month later and started putting her skills to use as a Certified Medical Reiki™ Practitioner at Yale New-Haven Hospital, while also working at Salt of the Earth in Woodbury.

In November 2015, Pam was approached by Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s (RHPC) President and CEO Cynthia Roy, who knew about Pam’s volunteer work at Yale-New Haven.  Cynthia encouraged Pam to bring her reiki expertise to Regional Hospice and Palliative Care.

The night that Pam completed her paperwork to become a RHPC Reiki volunteer, she was told by a family physician that her father would need hospice care.  For Pam, this was a clear sign of fate, allowing her to become a family member at RHPC before beginning her work at the Center.  Her father was admitted to Regional Hospice’s Center for Comfort Care and Healing a few days later.

After spending five days at the Center for Comfort Care and Healing, Pam’s father passed gently.  While driving with her mom on their way to the Center that night to say goodbye and wishing he was not in any pain, they saw a beautiful falling star in front of their car.  Pam took this as a sign from her dad that he did not suffer and was at peace. Her father had passed gently and comfortably, just as they had hoped.

After taking time to grieve, Pam began her volunteer work with RHPC providing reiki to patients, their loved ones and staff.  She believes that her experience as a family member of a RHPC patient before volunteering enables her to feel, see and better know how to best meet the needs of Regional Hospice’s patients and families through her special skill set.  Having been in their shoes made her volunteer commitment that much more powerful.  She regards her volunteer work as a passion and loves seeing peace come upon individuals as a result of a reiki treatment.  Pam feels honored that she is able to support them on their journey.

If you’ve been one of the lucky ones to receive reiki from Pam, chances are you’ve also met her friend and “reiki sister” Kim Schmus, LMT.  The pair find great joy in working together, combining their skills in reiki, guided meditation and light touch massage to provide a holistic approach to relaxation, comfort and relief.

Pam is tearful and genuinely moved when recounting memorable stories and experiences she’s shared with hospice patients.  She mentions two special patients who she will never forget, having been with them at their time of death.  She smiles remembering the Alzheimer’s patient that she and Kim worked with for many months. While this woman could not express herself on the outside, through their reiki they could feel her love and peace – and fire – from deep within.  Pam remembers fondly the gift of thanks that one patient gave them in her last few weeks: For all the grace and glory that they enabled their patient to experience.

She says “just to be able to touch so many lives as a RHPC volunteer is incredible.”  We like to think the work Pam does is pretty incredible too.

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Pam is a Regional Hospice and Palliative Care volunteer who provides reiki, light touch massage and guided meditation to patients and family members.  She has volunteered over 125 hours and worked with over 200 people.

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To learn more about Pam Picard, please visit her website at: http://www.reikimedical.com/

Pam Picard is offering a special discounted rate of $50 for any friends of hospice who would like to try a one-hour reiki session.  Please reach out to Pam directly and mention Regional Hospice and Palliative Care to receive this discounted rate.

She is also available to provide reiki at Salt of the Earth on weekends.

If you are interested in learning reiki and taking a Reiki I, 2 or 3 class instructed by Pam and Kim, please visit their website at healinghalls.wordpress.com.

To learn more about Kyle’s story, visit angelightfilms.org and select “The Kyle Show” to view a short documentary about his journey with brain cancer.

Inspired by Pam’s story?  To volunteer as a reiki practitioner, please visit Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s Volunteer Page and fill out an application today!

Roberta Goodwin: Heart of Gold Wins Medal of Gold

Roberta Goodwin volunteered 541 hours for Regional Hospice and Palliative Care in 2016, earning her a Gold Medal from the President’s Volunteer Service Awards.  You can find Roberta greeting at the front desk at the Center for Comfort Care & Healing and facilitating bereavement groups for the Healing Hearts Center for Grief and Loss.  She thinks that “Regional Hospice is the best place around to volunteer.”

Since 2001, Roberta Goodwin has been a devoted Regional Hospice and Palliative Care volunteer.  After experiencing a life-altering car accident, the tenacious real estate agent realized that she needed to make some time in her life to volunteer again – something that she’s always valued. An avid bowler, at her first game post-recovery, she wondered out loud whether anyone knew any good charities to volunteer for.  As luck would have it, the team she was bowling against was comprised of Regional Hospice employees and the rest is history!

Roberta began volunteering at Regional Hospice in the role of Family Support Volunteer.  For two years, she visited with patients in their homes to provide companionship, support and respite for their family members.  In 2003, the Healing Hearts Center for Grief and Loss was expanding their programs and Roberta, a mother of four and grandmother of (now) 11 – with 1 great-grandchild and another one on the way – was eager to get trained to facilitate support groups for children who have experienced loss.  Working with “Littles” (children aged 4-8) and eventually “Middles” (children aged 9-12) was a perfect fit – she enjoyed working with kids on arts and crafts projects and guiding them on their grief journeys.

In 2011, after nearly 8 years of working with children in Healing Hearts, Program Manager Joanna DeNicola, LCSW, saw potential in her and suggested that Roberta facilitate adult bereavement groups.  Roberta agreed, feeling up for the challenge, and she’s been facilitating adult groups ever since.  She credits Joanna to her success in the program, stating that she is “absolutely incredible with her teaching.”

When Regional Hospice opened the Center for Comfort Care & Healing in February 2015, Roberta decided to expand her volunteer work again and took on another role as a Lobby Greeter.  She loves this role and looks at this as another important way to connect and interact with families.  She wants patients and visitors alike to feel welcomed and at ease, greeting them by name whenever possible.  When she is greeting at the desk she gets to know the other volunteer on shift with her in addition to the visitors coming in and she feels fortunate that she is able to hear their interesting life stories.

With all of these volunteer roles, it’s no wonder that Roberta volunteered over 500 hours last year, achieving the gold level of the US President’s Volunteer Service award.  When asked what keeps her coming back after all of this time, she answered without hesitation: the people you’re helping and the people you’re surrounded by.  She speaks of the Regional Hospice team as a group of “givers” – not “takers” –which has created a wonderful balance in her life, juxtaposing her career in the business world.

Roberta gets asked a lot by friends and family how she is able to volunteer at Regional Hospice and she tells them unequivocally that volunteering is a complete ‘upper’ for her because she is helping families at some of the saddest times in their lives.  She asserts that it is not negative or depressing – and that it gives her the opportunity to get to know people from all walks of life.
Roberta has had many memorable moments over the past 16 years of volunteering.  She takes particular pride in watching some of her Healing Hearts group participants experience what she refers to as a “breakthrough.” She describes this as a day when, after months of someone attending a support group, a participant is finally able to share his/her real fears and emotions with the group.  She feels that when that happens, the team has done their job.  “We were able to give them enough support to feel comfortable coming back and speak up.”  Always one to downplay her own contributions, she credits those moments largely to the comfortable environment at the Center for Comfort Care & Healing and the delicious cookies, coffee and tea that help set the stage for this support and change.

Roberta’s dedication to volunteering has set a shining example for others.  Within the last year, her son Edward and her grandson Zachary followed her lead and signed up to become Regional Hospice volunteers themselves – something she refuses to take any credit for.  This three-generational volunteer team often signs up for shifts together and it’s clear that the compassion that Roberta has for others and commitment she has to “giving back” has also been instilled in her family.

When asked about her family, she reflects for a moment, “My family? We’re all very close. It’s all about family, as far as I’m concerned.  And [as members of the Regional Hospice team] we’re here helping families – that’s what Regional Hospice does.”

We are so grateful that Roberta is part of our Regional Hospice and Palliative Care volunteer family!

Called to Serve, Again

Danbury Veteran serves others as a hospice volunteer

He first served his country as a Seabee in the U.S. Navy from 1979 to 1984. Now Mark Pierce of Danbury has been called to serve by helping fellow Veterans at the end of their lives.

A Man’s Man

Mark Pierce with Eugene

Eugene with Mark Pierce

Mark admits that he is the last guy anyone would expect to be volunteering with hospice. As he puts it, “I‘m very involved with my church, but I’m not a touchy-feely kind of guy.” While he never intended to work with hospice patients, once he heard Mary Beth Hickey, Volunteer Director for Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, speak about the Veteran-to-Veteran program, Mark was committed.

Bringing Dignity & Support  

“I love it. I get a lot of peace there,” Mark explained. His sister-in-law had been at the Center for Comfort Care and Healing for 3 months in 2015 before she died. Mark’s family spent countless hours visiting her, giving Pierce a strong sense of the value of compassionate hospice care. “I like the whole process,” he said, “It is important work that gives people dignity and support.” 

A Veteran in Need

Recently Mark was called into action to help a local Veteran. Eugene, who was in his 70s and in need of hospice care due to progressing cancer. Like Mark, Eugene had been in the Navy. He served aboard the famous USS Enterprise. Since leaving the military, Eugene had an interesting and colorful life. Due to the limitations of his illness, he was not able to say much, but the two men formed a wonderful bond none-the-less.

A former biker, Eugene enjoyed riding along in Pierce’s 1959 Ford Pickup. Mark, who by his own admission tends to be quite talkative, let Eugene guide their visits which were taking place 3 days per week until Eugene passed away at the end of 2016.

As soon as Mark would enter Eugene’s home, “He was eager to go,” Mark shared. The two rode around taking in the snowy beauty of Candlewood Lake and Sherman, and visiting Ridgefield. Mark was also instrumental in getting Eugene to two area Christmas parties that Anne-Marie Keegan, Regional Hospice Social Worker, arranged for with the help of Home Health Aide Paul Aliot, based on Eugene’s final wishes.

Signs Confirm a Connection Meant to Be

Mark really enjoyed the regular drives with Eugene exclaiming, “I got as much out of it as he did.” In addition to Eugene being a Veteran, there were other meaningful connections that confirmed to Mark that the two were meant to meet. The home where Eugene was living is just minutes from where Mark lives. In addition, the name “Eugene” is quite special to Pierce as it belongs to his father, his brother, and is the middle name he gave to his son. Finally, after visiting with Eugene, Mark came home one day and turned on the television to catch a documentary on the USS Enterprise, the very vessel on which Eugene served.

Strong Women Light the Way

Like many of Regional Hospice’s amazing volunteers, Mark humbly feels that he gets more from volunteering than he gives. He is also happy to serve, noting that the desire to help others has been nurtured by the strong women in his life – his wife of 28 years, Carla, and his mother-in-law, Betti Corso, who is a founder of the Women’s Center in Danbury. Pierce also recognizes that there aren’t nearly as many male hospice volunteers as there are women, which he feels is a shame. He has seen firsthand that men like Eugene find it helpful to have the comradery of other men with similar interests, especially at the end of life. Mark is committed to spreading the word to other males and Veterans, so that every hospice patient can be connected with a kindred volunteer in their time of need.

Every hospice volunteers contributes something unique and special to our patients and their families. Thank you Veteran Mark Pierce for both your service to our country and your compassion for your community.

Ridgefield Community Leadership Breakfast 2016

Honoring Linda Maggs

Paul Sirois, RH COO with Linda Maggs

Paul Sirois, RH COO with Linda Maggs

In the final breakfast of the year, our Ridgefield friends and supporters united to honor a dedicated volunteer and community leader, while also celebrating the exceptional hospice care that is provided to all of our patients, young and old, due to generous community support like theirs. As a show of exactly how dedicated she is, our Community Leadership Honoree, Linda Maggs served as Master of Ceremonies for the event.

A Ridgefield Leader

Linda Maggs has been a longtime fundraising volunteer on behalf of Regional Hospice, eagerly serving as the breakfast MC. In addition, she is an active member of the Ridgefield community, holding a variety of leadership roles in the Ridgefield Lions Club since 1990 including serving as District Governor.

Meeting a Blue-Eyed, Blonde-Haired Boy

As a reminder of why it is important to raise funds, Regional Hospice’s Pediatric and Perinatal Nurse, Chris Mastropietro, RN, CHPN, CHPPN shared the realities of her work caring for the youngest hospice patients and their families. Mastropietro introduced attendees to a blue-eyed, blonde-haired boy who had been in her care, and his adoring family members. She detailed his grieving mother lamenting, “This doesn’t happen to people. This just doesn’t happen.” A statement of disbelief relatable to anyone touched by the joy and promise of a young life.

A Need for Pediatric Care in Connecticut

Mastropietro explained that losing young lives does indeed happen, and when it does she and her fellow team members are eager to offer assistance. As the only hospice agency in Connecticut providing perinatal care, and one of the few to have such a highly-credentialed pediatric hospice specialist on staff, Regional Hospice is committed to serving the unique emotional, physical and spiritual needs of that patient population and their families.

Hospice Available to Everyone in Need

Following Chris’s eye-opening and heart-warming speech, Paul Sirois, COO for Regional Hospice explained that families with dying children often face a difficult financial burden in addition to the obvious emotional one. The money raised through community breakfasts and other fundraising activities is essential for the nonprofit to provide compassionate care. Sirois thanked attendees for their generous support which enables Regional Hospice to provide exceptional care to all patients and families in need.

Special Thanks

Thank you for all those who attended the event including our special guest of honor and Master of Ceremonies, Linda Maggs; Rabbi David Levy Reiner, MAHL; Paul Sirois, RH COO; Chris Mastropietro, RN, CHPN, CHPPN. And, special thanks to all of the generous organizations and individuals who provided raffle items, sponsored tables and purchased Commemorative Bells.

We are especially appreciative to the dedicated Ridgefield Giving Circles Members who so seamlessly organize this event on our behalf, including:

Anita Barrios

Josie Connolly

Deb Durkee

Bessie Krysiewich

Linda Maggs

Nancy Ollinger

Pat Pettit

MaryBeth Prunty

Pat Ruhl

Ellen Scott

For photos from the event, please visit our Facebook Page

New Fairfield / Sherman Giving Circles Breakfast 2016

Surrounded by Love

Cynthia Roy, Don Smith

Cynthia Emiry Roy, RH President & CEO and Don Smith, Putnam County Sheriff and U.S. Army Brigadier General (Ret.)

The first snow of 2016 ushered in a beautiful morning filled with comradery, compassionate support and generous giving, all on behalf of Regional Hospice. At this 25th Annual Giving Circles Breakfast, members of the New Fairfield and Sherman communities united in support of those in need of hospice and bereavement services.

Prayers Answered

The day’s breakfast was highlighted by Putnam County Sheriff and U.S. Army Brigadier General (Retired), Donald B. Smith, who bravely shared the personal story of losing his wife, Jane Smith. Sheriff Smith explained the challenges he and his family experienced in accessing quality care for Jane at the end of her life, stating that finding the Center for Comfort Care & Healing was “an answer to prayer,” and emphasizing that he and his family “were blown away by the facility.” Smith went on to detail the many ways in which, once settled into the Center, Jane was “surrounded by love.”

A Family Thanksgiving

That love included a full Thanksgiving dinner for Jane and Don and their large family, orchestrated with ease by Regional Hospice’s Executive Chef Aaron Swart. Smith recollected how Jane’s every need was met with “love, dignity and respect,” as were the needs of him and his family, even the Smith’s 8 grandchildren who loved playing on the Center’s playscape.

Favorite Things, Final Moments

Smith stressed that the patient suite where Jane stayed was, “not a hospice room, it was HER room.” All of her favorite things were there. She was surrounded by her quilts and photos of her family scrolling across the television screen. Her bed was even lovingly set at a height so that Don’s, “eyes could make contact with hers.” And, when Jane’s life neared the end, the caring clinical team gently roused Sheriff Smith from sleep so that he could be with his beloved wife in her final moments.

The “H” Word

Admitting that he had been resistant to even using the word, “hospice,” in retrospect Sheriff Smith’s one regret was not finding Regional Hospice’s exceptional services sooner. He plans to advocate on the organization’s behalf so that more families like his are able to access quality hospice care. Due to their positive experience with Regional Hospice, in the Smith’s family dictionary the word “hospice” is now filed under “L” because “love is the one word that best describes hospice.”

We are so grateful to Sheriff Don Smith for his candor and kindness, and appreciate that we could be of service to the Smith family in their time of need.

Special Thanks

Our heartfelt thanks go to all of those who participated in this year’s breakfast including Cynthia Emiry Roy, President & CEO of Regional Hospice for sharing an update on Regional’s activities; Bill O’Keeffe and Katie Harrison for their dedication as Co-Chairs of the event; Rev. Justin Smith for his invocation; Susan Chapman, New Fairfield First Selectman and Don Lowe, Sherman Selectman for joining us; and to all of the generous table sponsors and raffle donors.

And, special thanks to the following hardworking 2016 New Fairfield / Sherman Giving Circle Members:

New Fairfield Giving Circles

Katie Harrison, Co-Chair

William O’Keeffe, Co-Chair

Rita Allegrezza

Pat Fink

Maureen Foley

Julie Ann Johnson

Kathie Murtha

Plonia Nixon

Carol Noethe

Paul Noethe

Betty Schoepp

Jeanette Sweeney

Janet Telford

Dennis Tendler

Susan Webb

For more photos of the breakfast, please “Like” our Facebook Page

The Southbury/Woodbury Giving Circles Luncheon

Harvesting Kindness for Hospice

Mary Beth Hickey, Volunteer Director and Paul SIrois, COO of Regional Hospice

Mary Beth Hickey, Volunteer Director and Paul Sirois, COO of Regional Hospice

Nearly 300 generous supporters from the Southbury and Woodbury communities gathered together in honor of Regional Hospice at the 2016 Harvest Luncheon. Set against the beautiful backdrop of autumn’s changing leaves visible through the walls of windows at The Waterview, the annual luncheon raised funds and awareness for the hospice care and bereavement services the organization provides throughout Connecticut.

Hospice Filled with Hope

Regional Hospice’s President & CEO, Cynthia Emiry Roy shared the latest updates on the organization’s growth into New Haven County, and detailed the breadth of the hospice and palliative care provided by our dedicated clinicians and volunteers. She explained that as an independent, nonprofit organization we are not supported by any one hospital. Instead, we receive referrals from numerous physicians and health facilities. Regional provides its hospice and palliative care expertise to patients in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or directly in a patient’s home. Additionally, the one-of-a-kind Center for Comfort Care & Healing is a best practice model which is filled with, “hope and energy, love and compassion –  and a lot of joy.” Roy went on to explain that the Center has hosted many happy events including a child’s birthday party and a wedding, both organized to honor the final wishes of dying patients and their families.

Volunteers Make it Possible

Roy emphasized that such compassionate care is possible due to the “time, talent and advocacy” of the supporters in the room. Some of the supporters present, a group of very devoted Giving Circle members, sat outside a Southbury grocery store over the course of 2 blazingly hot summer weekends in order to raise funds so that a family of 7 could enjoy a vacation together before their young child passed away. It was just one of many stories shared exemplifying how, as Mary Beth Hickey, Volunteer Director for Regional Hospice later stated, “Your money makes a difference. Your time makes a difference.”

Alleviating Pain and Suffering

Hickey spoke about the tremendous value that volunteers bring to hospice patients and their family members. Declaring, “I have the best job in the world!” further noting that her, “world is full of kindness” due to the time she spends with Regional Hospice volunteers. One attendee later remarked that you could “hear the smile in your [Hickey’s] words.” A fact that was evident as Mary Beth graciously praised the many amazing volunteers she is fortunate enough to work with. Volunteers, who, like the supporters in the room, “are supporting a mission of alleviating pain and suffering at end of life.”

Many Thanks

Thank you to everyone in attendance for making the day so special including Geri Travis, who served as Master of Ceremonies; Rev. Joseph T. Donnelly, who gave a beautiful invocation; all of the vendors who provided a unique shopping experience for guests; and to all of the businesses and individuals who sponsored tables, placed advertisements and generously donated raffle items on our behalf.

Our endearing gratitude also goes to our hard-working Southbury/Woodbury Giving Circle Members:

Thelma Oppenheimer & Geri Travis, Co-Chairs
Ellie Crystal & Helen Fultz, Luncheon Co-Chairs
Helen Longnecker, Treasurer
Ruth Schoenfeld, Secretary
Thelma Becker
Annette Charniak
Francine Crystal
Linda Feeley
Margaret Giacomazzo
Lilyan Grossman
Dorothy Helfand
Julia Jaffes
Marcia Miller
Jen Mortati
Helen Murphy
Harriett Rosefield
Deanna Ross

Service of Remembrance 2016

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Ed Schwartz, Social Worker with Regional Hospice places a flower in memory of a patient

sorgroup250On a sunny Sunday in September, Regional Hospice hosted its annual Service of Remembrance in the Memorial Gardens at the Center for Comfort Care & Healing. Over 160 loved ones of patients who died on our hospice services attended the memorial ceremony led by Reverand Samuel Dexter, Manager of Spiritual Care. Set to the backdrop of melodious flute music, the service included short readings and words of reflection, and culminated with the reading of patient names. As each name was read, a member of the hospice care team placed a single rose in a vase symbolizing how we come together as a community to celebrate the memory of our loved ones.

Immediately following the service, attendees enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by the Chefs at the Center for Comfort Care & Healing, providing the opportunity to reconnect with the staff who cared for their loved one.

Regional Hospice gives a special thanks to the Fairfield County Flute Choir for donating their time and providing beautiful music for the ceremony and the National Charity League of Redding for donating their time at the service and supplying delicious homemade desserts.

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Members of the Fairfield County Flute Choir

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Mothers & daughters from the Redding National Charity League

Bethel Celebrates 28 Years of Giving

Alice Hutchinson and Cynthia E. Roy, President & CEO of Regional Hospice

Alice Hutchinson and Cynthia E. Roy, President & CEO of Regional Hospice

Regional Hospice gathered together area friends and supporters for the 28th Annual Bethel Giving Circles Breakfast. Alice Hutchinson, owner of Byrd’s Books, was the master of ceremonies, while Rev. John Parille was on hand to deliver the morning’s invocation. As guests caught up with their friends and neighbors, Cynthia Emiry Roy, RHHC’s President and CEO, reminded attendees why their participation was so important to families experiencing end-of-life challenges and grief throughout the four counties that Regional Hospice serves.

New Ventures for Regional

Roy explained some of the organization’s exciting new ventures, including the Medicare Care Choices Innovation Model and hospice care provided at Yale’s Smilow Cancer Center. She also delivered sobering news that many of the patients in need of hospice and palliative care are not elderly, as many would assume, but rather are children and infants. Cynthia then introduced the bright light in the lives of those ailing children and their families, Regional Hospice’s highly credentialed, yet extremely humble Pediatric & Perinatal Nurse, Chris Mastropietro RN, CHPN, CHPPN.

The Realities of a Pediatric Hospice Nurse

Chris explained the role that she and her hospice team play in helping family members in the midst of losing a young life, stressing that she wants them to know they, “don’t have to walk this path alone.” She spoke of her role as one of privilege, as less than 18% of hospice organizations provide support to pediatric patients. Mastropietro explained that in addition to being a source of comfort and assurance, she is able to offer little patients, “quick relief from unexpected symptoms and suffering.” Through the sharing of the realities of her daily interactions, Chris made it very clear that her gentle loving care was a great blessing to those in need.

Nonprofit Hospice Care Takes a Community

It was also clear that those who had shown their support at the annual breakfast through their participation, table sponsorships, raffle donations and generous table donations were a vital part of the subsidized patient care and bereavement services that enable Chris and the other Regional Hospice clinical staff to serve families throughout the community. We are grateful to all those in attendance for their enduring support.

For photos of the event, please visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/RegionalHospiceCT

Special thanks go to the Bethel Giving Circles Members:
Mary Legnard, Co-Chair
Donna Jack, Co-Chair
Lisa Emmons
Rita Harrison
Violet Mattone
Sandy Nichols
Michele Steiner Wood
Grace O’Rourke
Janice Chrzescijanek
Camille Watson

Presidential Honors for Regional Hospice Volunteers

Presidential Volunteer Award Winners
Their mutual admiration, shared joy and overwhelming spirit of compassion made the evening even more perfect for 43 Regional Hospice and Home Care (RHHC) volunteers who earned the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) on Thursday evening September 22nd. The national award program recognizes and celebrates outstanding American citizens who positively impact their communities, while serving as role models. Award winners were celebrated at a cocktail reception in the Memorial Gardens of the Center for Comfort Care & Healing for the thousands of service hours the exemplary group donated to support families during 2015.

“We could not provide the exceptional level of care and support for our hospice patients and their families without the tireless efforts of our volunteers,” said Cynthia Emiry Roy, RHHC President and CEO. “They are a selfless group of individuals who devote their time to helping others, and we could not be more grateful or proud of their service.”

Awards were given to those who volunteered 100+ hours in 2015.  Each recipient was presented with a letter signed by President Obama, along with a certificate commemorating the number of hours of service they provided to the organization and the community as a whole. Volunteers who provided 250+ hours of service in the calendar year also received a medallion, and those who provided 500+ hours of service received a medal.

Regional Hospice and Home Care was selected to become a Certifying Organization for the prestigious award program this year, after determining that many of our volunteers were eligible for the various classifications.

“A quote on one of the walls of our Center for Comfort Care and Healing reads, ‘Volunteers are unpaid not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless,’ and that is exactly how we feel about the 445 volunteers that support our work. Their contributions are remarkable and we are pleased to be able to offer them the President’s Volunteer Service Award as a token of our appreciation and a testament to their contributions,” explains Laura Cordeira, Volunteer Manager.

Front (L to R): John Hoffman and Gary Boulet, Back (L to R): Mary Beth Hickey, Volunteer Director; Laura Cordeira, Volunteer Manager

Throughout the ceremony continual cheers punctuated each name as staff and volunteers celebrated the individuals whose kindness brings so much peace and support to our families. Two volunteers in particular received resounding ovations as they received their medals – Gary Boulet and John Hoffman – two lobby greeters at the Center who have manned the front desk for more than 500 hours during 2015, and received Olympic-sized gold medals for their loving spirit and caring assistance to everyone who enters our Center.

The following individuals were 2016 President’s Volunteer Service Award Recipients based on their service as Family Support Volunteers, Lobby Greeters, Kitchen Volunteers, Flower Arranger Volunteers, Pet Partners, Reiki Practitioners, Volunteer Handymen, Administrative Volunteers, Bereavement Volunteers, and Healing Hearts Group Facilitators:

Gold Level – 500+ Hours Volunteered

Gary Boulet

John Hoffman

Silver Level – 250+ Hours Volunteered

Louise Burnette

Roberta Goodwin

Paget Haylon

Larry O’Toole

Suzanne Scovill

Sharon Siegel

Bronze Level – 100+ hours volunteered

Lisa Amiano

Daniel Bacon

Lindie Bacon

Berenice Barberi

Maryann Bova

Carol Buchwald

Ellen Curran

Penny Dawson

Patti Deakin

Ann Hayek

John Hinckley

Geri Hopper

Doug Johnston

Nancy Kear-Johnson

Nicole Kouvaris

Tracie LaJoie

Lori Leffort

Kathleen Lewis

Roseanne Loring

Ayde Lyons

Pat Macchiaverna

Dee Marino

Maureen McGuire

Phyllis Mount

Liz Neuwirth

Regina Ofiero

Terri Pawson

Deb Pointon

Ellen Raspitha

Judy Rickert

Edward Ruhl

Lynne Salierno

Theresa Taylor

Krysta Townsend

Giving Circles Luncheon

New Name, Same Generous Spirit

RHHC’s Chapters are now “Giving Circles”

Giving Circles LuncheonAt an event celebrating nearly three decades of service and support, Regional Hospice and Home Care (RHHC) recently unveiled the new name for their fundraising volunteers. These devoted volunteers are best known for the community breakfasts that they organize annually in Litchfield and Fairfield Counties in support of hospice care and bereavement services. Previously known as “Chapters,” they will now be affectionately referred to as “Giving Circles” – a more descriptive moniker representing the generosity and collaboration these groups embody.

As Paul Sirois, RHHC COO, explained, the new name came directly from volunteer and community input. It is poised to promote greater clarity, grow membership throughout the 8 towns currently supporting Regional Hospice and Home Care, and encourage expansion into the other communities touched by the hospice and palliative care services the organization provides. “You’re creating a legacy amongst yourselves,” Sirois declared, reminding attendees that they were the, “original fundraising volunteers.”

President and CEO, Cynthia Emiry Roy explained some of the many ways that the funds raised have helped patients at the end of their lives including, enabling a teenager to see his idol (Marc Anthony) in concert, assisting a family with an ailing child to enjoy a summer vacation together, and helping a young man to fulfill a “bucket list” wish of skydiving. Roy emphatically praised the fundraising volunteers saying, “We can do these loving things because of the money you raise and what you do. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are amazing.”

Please watch for your local Giving Circles fundraising activities on our Events page. If you are interested in joining a Giving Circle, feel free to contact Terri Katz, Manager of Corporate and Strategic Partnerships at 203.702.7432 or tkatz@regionalhospicect.org.