According to Catherine Haynes, community resource coordinator for Hospice of the Bluegrass, approximately 60 people in Harlan County volunteer their time to address the various needs of patients of Hospice of the Bluegrass Mountain Heritage, the Harlan office which operates with a staff of 22 members.
A majority of those who attended Tuesday’s luncheon were a group of members of Teetersville Baptist Church who volunteer their time on projects ranging from building wheelchair ramps to repairing stairs and porches for Hospice patients and others in the community who need their services. The group has installed nearly 40 wood or concrete wheelchair ramps in Harlan County during the past three years, including many of them at the request of Hospice and some through their church.
“This is in honor of everything they do for us, and we just wanted to express our appreciation for all that they do,” said Haynes.
One of those men, Will Cassim, said the church got involved after Mountain Heritage director Greg McClellan spoke to the church about the organization’s need for volunteers.
“I love helping others. I wouldn’t mind if I was building a ramp when the Lord calls me home,” said Cassim, referring to his faith’s role in his work. “The Lord blesses those who serve, and we have come into contact with many families that become friends.”
Hospice has volunteers who perform an array of services for patients in their families in addition to building ramps. Many of their volunteers help in the form of providing respite care, providing relief for families busy with the task of taking care of their loved ones. Many more help by providing meals or helping patients get to doctor’s appointments, and some volunteer in other ways, such as performing music or singing.
Haynes said the organization is currently seeking more volunteers, specifically for “one-time services,” such as hairdressers, barbers or lawyers, and also people who could do yard work, make blankets, be a handyman or even serve as a companion.
“Becoming a Hospice volunteer does not require a lot of time — just a warm heart, a listening ear and compassion to help someone in need,” Haynes said.
Hospice will be offering a volunteer training at the Mountain Heritage office at the Village Center Mall on Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone interested in volunteering is welcome to attend.