Taffy Wilcox (above) of Avon, and Lucian Cascio (right) of Granby, were recently chosen as McLean Hospice's "Volunteers of the Year."
On Tuesday, July 10th, McLean Hospice held its 2011 Volunteer Recognition Picnic to honor the work provided by their more than 60 Hospice volunteers. The event was graciously hosted at the North Granby home of Kathy and Nelson Toussaint, incredible hosts for the second year in a row!
Debra Oakes, Director of McLean Hospice, shared with everyone present the important role that volunteering plays in Hospice. She expressed great appreciation for volunteers being the “heart” of hospice and for their great contributions to the program’s success. Debra related that Hospice volunteers contributed an extraordinary 3,000 volunteer hours in 2011, at a value of more than $83,000!
Oakes explained that while this cost savings was very important, the most important contribution that hospice volunteers made was in their connection to patients and their families and the comfort and enhanced quality of life this connection created.
Pat Adams, Administrator of Home Care & Hospice, reiterated that the volunteers’ contributions were an incredible value to the agency, and agreed with Debra's assessment of the “invaluable” & "intangible" contributions to overall patient and family well-being. She expressed appreciation to the volunteers on behalf of McLean’s senior management and the Board of Trustees. Also present to support the volunteers was Dr. Kevin Baran, McLean Hospice Medical Director, and many staff members.
Lori Scudder, McLean Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, spoke of the industry studies on longevity of volunteers. She reported that nationally the average length of time a volunteer remains active in any type of not for profit program is 2 1/2 to 3 years. She proudly reported that many Mclean Hospice volunteers have remained actively committed to hospice well beyond the national averages.
She explained some eligibility rules for "volunteers of the year" category. If a volunteer wins a volunteer of the year award, he/she becomes ineligible for that award for three years and serves on the subsequent years' nomination and evaluation committees. Also, to win an award, the volunteer must still be active. This year, Lori was assisted in evaluation and selection by last year's winners, Jerri Pease, Wendy John and Sylvia Peterson. There were several deserving volunteers in contention for the Volunteer of the Year award, making for an interactive selection process amongst the committee.
Finally Lori provided awards to individual volunteers for their contributions.
Two Years of Service pins were given to - Linda Arnold, Jane Erie, Alex Kopper, George Lynch, Kathy Mock, Marilee Porter, Stoddard Reynolds, Kathye Toussaint, Stan Walczewski, Taffy Wilcox.
Three years pins were given to – PK Allen, Jennifer Barrows, Kim Doan, Joan Hofmann, Wendy John, Amee Mody, Sylvia Peterson, Elizabeth Scheidel, Jo O'Leary, Judy Piney, and Patty Tisdall.
Greater than 5 Years of Service Lucian Cascio and Dolores Wolff.
“You Make a Difference Awards” – were bestowed upon volunteers who contributed more than 100 hours of service during the year. Being recognized were: PK Allen, Linda Arnold, Barbara Ault, Marilyn Douglas, Wendy John, George Lynch, Patricia Joy, Jerri Pease, Marilee Porter, Stoddard Reynolds, Kathye Toussaint, Stan Walczewski and Taffy Wilcox.
Finally McLean Hospice’s two Volunteers of the Year were honored. Lucian Cascio, of Granby, was honored for his steadfast administrative support in 2011. Taffy Wilcox, of Avon, was honored for her patient care work including, contributing over 100 hours of care, supporting patients with pet therapy interventions, and chairing the McLean Hospice Holiday gift project, which created and distributed comfort gift bags to 60 Hospice families.