Friday, April 4, 2014

State of the Heart Hospice Honors Volunteers This Spring

Pictured is Bruce Miller, holding the box
containing the ceramic heart, and Brittany Roeckner
Last year, State of the Heart Hospice volunteers contributed nearly 9,000 hours to the nonprofit agency, saving State of the Heart over $80,000 in services provided by the volunteers. State of the Heart will thank the agency’s 120 volunteers with two recognition events in May. The nation’s volunteers are typically honored in April during National Volunteer Recognition week which is April 6-13.

“Our volunteers give so much and seek no recognition for the great things they do for our patients and families,” stated Pauline Faller, Volunteer Manager for State of the Heart. “This is a way for us to gather and thank and honor them for all they do.”

There will be a luncheon beginning at noon, Tuesday, May 6 at the Turtle Creek Golf Course on U.S. Route 36 east of Greenville, and, there will be a dinner, Thursday May 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Harmony Café, 121 N. Meridian St., in Portland. Volunteers can choose which event they want to attend and are asked to respond to Faller by April 21.

“Our volunteers go about their volunteer activities expecting no praise or gratitude,” Faller said. “They do it because they want to help their fellow human being and enjoy what they do.”

Typical of the State of the Heart volunteers is Bruce Miller, of Greenville who has volunteered for a little over a year now. He averages about six hours a week of volunteering, delivering flowers to patients in nursing homes and assisted care facilities, delivering medications and supplies to patients, and taking office mail to the agency’s various offices. He also helps other volunteers deliver small ceramic hearts to funeral homes after a patient has died.

“Perhaps the best words to describe volunteering,” said Miller who turns 80 this year, “is that volunteering is an outward expression of an inner feeling.” He enjoys his volunteering and especially likes the interaction with patients and their families.

On Tuesdays, he delivers flowers to patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the Greenville area. Then, there may be the occasional request to pick up some medication for a patient. On Fridays, he shows up like clockwork and takes mail from Greenville to the agency’s other offices in Coldwater and Portland.

When Miller delivers his flowers to patients he will sometimes engage in conversation with the patient or a family member. Patients look forward to his deliveries and visits. “I had one patient whose favorite color was pink. I always tried to make sure I gave her a pink flower which brought a smile to her face,” he said.

Working closely with Miller is State of the Heart Medical Secretary Brittany Roeckner. “Anytime I call him, he is excited to hear me with a request,” she said. “I can always rely on him. And, he will keep me aware of his own schedule and when he might not be available. Also, when he completes a task, he asks me if there is anything else that needs done.”

Volunteering for hospice has its other benefits, he said, adding, “It gives me a purpose in life; it gets me out of the house and enables me to get some exercise. And, on top of this you get the satisfaction that you are helping somebody.” Miller, like other volunteers, is reluctant to be recognized for his volunteering. “It is not about me and what I do,” he explained. “The important focus is on how we help people in so many ways.”

Volunteers are an important part of the inter disciplinary team of hospice caregivers that consists of physician, nurses, aides, social workers, bereavement specialists, chaplains, and music therapists. State of the Heart for 33 years has cared for patients and families in eastern Indiana and western Ohio who are confronting a life limiting illness. The National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization estimates that over 400,000 hospice volunteers provided 19 million hours of services to the nation’s 5,000 hospices last year.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering, call Pauline Faller at 1-800-417-7535. Volunteers can chose the hours they want to volunteer and what they would like to do. They help by providing care and support to patients and families, with office clerical tasks, and by assisting staff with marketing and fundraising. Volunteer orientations are held periodically at the various offices. For more information about State of the Heart, visit the agency web site at

Featured Posts

/* Track outbound links in Google Analytics */