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OPINION

Volunteers safely continue to serve

By Lisa Baggett Special to the Times

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful.”

When my grandmother became a widow, she moved from Jacksonville to Signal Mountain to be near her daughter. The first thing my grandmother set out to do was find a church. She visited several churches on the mountain and said they were very nice but all of them welcomed her and asked her to have a seat.

Big Bend Hospice

When she walked into Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church, she was greeted warmly, then immediately given a task. And as soon as service was over, she had a list of things to do for the coming week. She called her daughter and exclaimed, “I found my church!” What my grandmother longed for was to be useful. And being useful meant she felt connected to her community.

With the pandemic dominating 2020, Big Bend Hospice has seen a decrease in new volunteers in all eight counties. The patients we serve feel isolated enough by facing a terminal illness. Add in the pandemic and the isolation is compounded. We need volunteers more than ever and we hope to attract committed volunteers to help patients feel less isolated.

We understand caution is key and we invite you to attend one of our monthly Virtual Volunteer Trainings to find out how Big Bend Hospice trains volunteers to stay safe while helping hospice patients during a challenging climate. We are confident that you will find being useful so rewarding!

Big Bend Hospice is appealing to the residents of our eight-county service area who may be looking for ways to help their community. We have a variety of volunteer opportunities available such as patient companionship, assisting caregivers with errands, administrative duties at the office, honoring veterans during Valor ceremonies, greeting visitors at the Dozier Hospice House, etc.

We invite you to join us from the comfort of your home for our first Virtual Volunteer Training of the new year on Saturday, Feb. 27 or March 27, Join us and strengthen your social connections, enhance your civic engagement, and enjoy positive mental health benefits. And find out that the purpose of life is to be useful and being useful brings happiness!

Please contact Katie Mandell at 850-878-5310 or visit our website at www.bigbendhospice.org to learn more.

Big Bend Hospice has been serving this community since 1983 with compassionate end-of-life care along with grief and loss counselors available to provide information and support to anyone in Leon, Jefferson, Taylor, Madison, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin or Wakulla County. If you would like additional information about services, please call 850-878-5310 or visit www.bigbendhospice.org.

Lisa Baggett is community relations liaison for Big Bend Hospice, Inc.