With all that’s happened to our neighbors to the South we felt it was a good time to continue on our Volunteering vein. “Harvey” played an important part in the news this past week and the final results of its passage will not be known for quite some time.

With all that’s happened to our neighbors to the South we felt it was a good time to continue on our Volunteering vein. “Harvey” played an important part in the news this past week and the final results of its passage will not be known for quite some time. What we do know is that it was “horrific” for most of the people in Texas and Louisiana and that volunteers played a really important part in the rescuing of people whose homes were damaged and needed help getting to higher grounds. The volunteering public also came through by donating money, food and supplies to those who were affected. The stories I heard on TV and the scenes of people being helped to safety made quite an impression on me. So, once again, let me tell you one more way you might be interested in volunteering by introducing you to one of the groups that we partner with here at the Center.

I have my blood pressure taken at the Senior Center (along with lots of other people) every Tuesday Morning (when I make it in) by Pam and Nancy from Heartland Home Health and Hospice. They’re friendly, professional, they smile and after taking your blood pressure they also check your pulse rate. They even securely keep records so you can take the weekly reading to your doctor when visiting in his/her office. Heartland Home Health and Hospice was my pick for this week.

To get more info about Hospice services and its Volunteers, I made an appointment with the Volunteer Coordinator, Karen Cleveland-Herron, to meet at her office . I was acquainted with Karen because she shares part of her time as a member of the Shawnee Senior Board of Directors and as a Board Member she’s faithfully at the Center on the second Tuesday of each month. I was prepared for a quiet, maybe even somber discussion of what Hospice does and the people who do it but – again - I was wrong. Karen’s office (at the back of the building) was a warm friendly place with smiling Volunteers coming and going all the time I was there. I even got to meet Karen’s husband, Earl, who is also a Volunteer.

From the minute you walk in the door it becomes obvious that Karen’s main focus is her work with the 50 or so members of the group she works with at Heartland that are her Volunteers. Hospice Volunteers, in case you are unaware, are people of all ages and walks of life that are there for families who have someone who is close to the end of life. Doctors will recommend Hospice care if there is a terminal prognosis indicating that the patient may have less than six months to live. Over two-thirds of hospice patients are cared for in their homes.

Karen’s group of 50 or so Volunteers started way back in 2002. She joined Heartland Home Health and Hospice to work with the Hospice Volunteers who were part of the “Hospice of Shawnee” program under the Shawnee hospital’s oversite. The hospital decided in 2002 that they were no longer able to continue the program and the service was sold to Hearland and Karen took on the job of Volunteer Coordinator. There are still three people from the original “Hospice of Shawnee” group that are actively volunteering to this day – fifteen years later. You may recognize their names: Linda Moss, Shirley Ladd and our own Center Board Chairman, Phyllis Crosswell.

Hospice Volunteers take classes, get accredited to become Volunteers and offer a large variety of services to the patients and families they serve. First and foremost, they are Volunteers and do not receive monetary payment for their time or effort but Karen will tell you that getting to know the patients and their families is one of the biggest perks of their job. Helping the Hospice patient and their families is the most important thing for these Volunteers and that means you will not only see Hospice Volunteers sitting and talking with the people they serve but also handling the “fun” things in life like doing arts and crafts, providing birthday cakes for birthdays, also providing Clowns (also Hospice Volunteers) for parties and just doing whatever they can to help. Their services include one of the most important times for families and that’s being there for their patient and family when life draws to a close. Karen and the Heartland Hospice Team do their best to make sure that no one dies alone. According to VIP (Volunteers Impacting People) Heartland Volunteers donated almost seven thousand hours (7,000) volunteering through Heartland Home Heath and Hospice in calendar year 2016.

Now that I have given you a basic understanding of what Hospice Volunteers do I want to tell you that their services are much in demand and, according to Karen, she would like to have a minimum of fifty (that’s right 5 zero) more wonderful Volunteers to join them as she has calls for more than twice the number of Volunteers they have now. Listing all of the towns that would actively like to partner with Heartland Home Health and Hospice would be like typing an atlas of town names from the nine Counties surrounding Shawnee. The list of nursing homes that would also welcome Hospice Volunteers would also include facilities from Shawnee to Midwest City and from Wewoka to Holdenville and beyond.

So if you have spare time on your hands and you would like to be a partner with an agency that helps people during one of the most difficult times in their lives, give Karen Cleveland-Herron a call at Heartland Home Health and Hospice, 405-214-6441. She would love to talk to you about the many ways you could use your time and talents to help others. It’s a great feeling, that warm fuzzy one you get when you know you are helping others. Give it a try! You’ll love it!! Honest!!!

Volunteer Coordinator Karen Cleveland-Herron will be on KGFF Radio (FM 100.9 or AM 1450) onWednesday morning, September 6th at 8:35am with “Mike in the Morning” with more information on Volunteering at Heartland Home Health and Hospice.

And remember at the Shawnee Senior Center “Age is just a number”. The website is www.SHAWNEESENIORS.ORG and our Facebook page is “Shawnee Senior Center”. SEE YOU AT THE CENTER!!