This year’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 18 to 24) has special meaning. Since COVID-19 hit our communities, we have spent the last 13 months learning to adapt. As we grappled with necessary changes during the pandemic, there were times when we were not sure how we would keep the spirit of the volunteers at the forefront of our work. Many asked, “Do we really need to stop making visits? My patient relies on me.” While our answer was “yes, we unfortunately do,” what they heard was, “Let’s figure out how to do this differently.” It wasn’t long before the volunteer spirit shined brightly to show us the way!
Our volunteers’ creativity, willingness, and passion for our mission over the last year is a beacon for what it truly means to be a volunteer. They made close to 8,000 phone calls, hundreds of masks and quilts, and conducted more than 300 virtual honor salutes. They never let us forget they wanted to volunteer. They never let us forget how volunteers are critically important and unique to hospice care. It is reminiscent of our four volunteer founders who in 1979 asked something very similar: Can we do this differently? Can we change how our community experiences end of life? They did then and now.
While the experiences may be different, 42 years later the spirit remains one of true giving and compassion for our fellow humans. On behalf of each member of our team, the patients, and families we care for, and our boards of directors, we say “thank you” for all you do and all you give to families in Anne Arundel, Charles and Prince George’s counties. We all look forward when COVID-19 is in our rearview mirror and volunteers can return to providing their incredible care in person.
Michael J. Brady
President and CEO
Hospice of the Chesapeake