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April 21-27 is National Volunteer Week

April 21-27 is National Volunteer Week. Hospice of the Red River Valley would like to express its deepest thanks to those who so generously give their time, energy and spirit.

But, how can this be done? Reflecting on the selfless acts and attitudes I witness each day at Hospice of the Red River Valley, I become speechless and overcome with gratitude.

Our hospice volunteers enable us to carry out our mission of providing compassionate end-of-life care. We simply could not provide our depth of services without them. Hospice of the Red River Valley has been serving Detroit Lakes and adjacent counties since 1993. Locally, we have 52 volunteers from Detroit lakes and surrounding areas.

In 2012, across our 29-county service area more than 400 Hospice volunteers recorded 15,965 hours of time and drove nearly 49,000 miles to share their time and talents with individuals and families facing life’s final journey. What do these generous people do? They visit with patients, read the newspaper, play card games, share coffee and sit at patients’ bedsides. Our volunteers deliver supplies and assist staff in our offices.

I have seen volunteers drop what they are doing and change their schedules to be with patients to provide comfort. I have volunteers who are complete strangers go into patient’s homes and become an invaluable part of their lives. The relationships that are fostered are memories not soon to be forgotten. They drive in blustery weather to visit patients’ homes. Often, they ask to assist during the holidays, because they can’t bear the thought of patients being alone when they can provide a hand to hold.

Our hospice volunteers are among the most compassionate people I have ever met. We thank our volunteers who stand ready to provide compassionate services to our communities. On behalf of Hospice of the Red River Valley, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. — Stephanie Baker, Volunteer Coordinator, Hospice of the Red River Valley