With approximately 400 volunteers to thank during National Volunteer Appreciation Week, Hospice of the Chesapeake pulled out all the stops by inviting them to five different celebrations during the week of April 7. There were two breakfasts, a wellness lunch, an ice cream social and a happy hour complete with a blues band and an awards ceremony.
At the awards event, which took place at the Knights of Columbus’s Boswell Hall in Bowie on April 11, six of the eight award recipients were in attendance, each filled with emotion as they learned of the honor they received. The first three awards were presented by Chesapeake Life Center team members. Each of the volunteers were honored for their commitment to the individuals and families served by the bereavement program. Carol Fritz of Annapolis received the Dedicated Service Award, Bill Malicki of Annapolis received the Making A Difference Award and Denise Brown of Severna Park receiving the Shining Star Award.
The other five award recipients acknowledged the work of patient care volunteers, healing arts volunteers and administrative support volunteers. They included Dedicated Service Award recipient Ed Allen of Cheverly, Making A Difference Award recipient Linda Murphy of Glen Burnie, David William Malicki Veteran’s Award recipient Akesha Lowry of Crofton, Above and Beyond Award recipient Meredith Lowman of Elkridge, and Going the Distance Award recipient Dianne Doolan of Davidsonville.
Director of Volunteer Services Mary Jermann, who has a unique perspective as an avid volunteer and as the leader of the team, shared her message of gratitude for the moments of love that all of the volunteers shared with others throughout their end-of-life experience.
President and CEO Ben Marcantonio also expressed gratitude, pointing out that as a nonprofit hospice and palliative care organization, the importance of its volunteer corps cannot be emphasized enough. He pointed to the four volunteers who, inspired by the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, established as Arundel Hospice in 1979 with just four patients on its census. Their work as volunteers forever changed healthcare in our community. Forty years later, Hospice of the Chesapeake has served 42,138 patients, with the help of more than 5,200 volunteers.
Allen demonstrated the dedication that earned him special recognition as he could not attend the happy hour because of another volunteer commitment. He made it to the volunteer appreciation breakfast that was served at the organization’s Largo office on April 12, where he was honored with a surprise presentation of his award by the volunteer team. Doolan, who also was unable to attend the April 11 event, received her award April 29 at the Hospice of the Chesapeake offices on the John & Cathy Belcher Campus.
There are many ways one can serve as a volunteer for the nonprofit – from companionship and comfort to outreach and administrative work. To find out more, visit www.hospicechesapeake.org/join-us, email email@example.com or call 410-987-2003.