In many ways, Ethel Taylor-Young is your stereotypical hospice volunteer: It was within a month of her retiring as a federal government employee that she decided to fill her time by volunteering. She decided on Hospice of Charles County because she wanted to give back to a hospice organization having experienced its compassionate care with her own family members.
That’s pretty much where the stereotypical part of it ends. Since the Waldorf resident started as a Patient Care Volunteer in 2009, she believes she has cared for at least 100 patients. She also has participated as an 11th-Hour Volunteer (known as Vigil Volunteers to the Hospice of the Chesapeake team), made calls in the Volunteer Call Center (now part of our Caring Callers team), worked at the Volunteer Security Desk at the Hospice House in Waldorf and has even helped with fundraising.
It isn’t just the variety of roles she plays as a volunteer, but the commitment she makes to each of those roles. “Ethel truly is in it all the way,” Charles County Communications Specialist Gladys Aguirre said. “From the moment I met her I was greeted with open arms by her and the patients love her. Even when I hear her talk over the phone to them, I can hear their love for her.”
Once Ethel is assigned to a patient and his or her family, she is just as Gladys said, in it all the way. She will run errands for them, read to them, just be there for them. “I would always send birthday cards and then bring them a cupcake on their birthday,” Ethel said. After a patient died, she was still there for the family, attending their memorial service.
When we asked her to share one of her most favorite patient care experiences, her voice brightened up. “I think my favorite moments were working with a 13-year-old. He couldn’t talk, but he talked with his eyes,” Ethel said. “Those gorgeous blue eyes would follow me when I walked into the room. The other children would squeeze into the big seat with me when I would visit. I so appreciate them inviting me into their family and into their lives. I so much enjoyed being there for them as they went through that process.”
The patients love her. Even when I hear her talk over the phone to them, I can hear their love for her.
After she shared that story, she said, “I have had so many rewarding experiences. Thank you so much for asking. It puts a smile on my face. Wow. I am just smiling thinking of all the love and compassion and heartfelt ways that Hospice of Charles County embraces patients and families.” Since October when Hospice of the Chesapeake and Hospice of Charles County began to merge their teams together, Director of Advancement and Volunteer Services
Chris Wilson said that Ethel’s name kept popping up. “We look forward to working more with Ethel as someone who can help us grow in Charles County. We are so fortunate to have her 12 years of experience to share with our team and all of our volunteers.”
Her experience and knowledge is something she loves to share with friends and church family, many of whom call her when they want to learn more about hospice. She has also managed to bring quite a few of them onboard as fellow volunteers, “They have been able to experience some of the rewarding experiences I have experienced.”