Aveanna Hospice honors volunteers at appreciation luncheon

Published 11:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2023

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With April serving as National Volunteer Month, Aveanna Hospice recognized its volunteers with an appreciation lunch at its facility in Andalusia on Thursday, April 27.

Aveanna Hospice volunteers can provide assistance through direct or indirect service.

“There are different ways to volunteer. Direct volunteers visit with patients while their caregivers run an errand or go to an appointment. They can read to the patient, provide companionship, and some even sing to the patients. Indirect service is assisting hospice staff in the office with tasks such as filing or answering telephones, attending community events, and doing crafts for our patients on holidays. Anyone who is aged 18 or older can volunteer, and 15 or older may with a parent’s consent,” Executive Director Kim Ray said.

Carla Mooney, who has volunteered for 10 years, first learned of the program at a booth while attending the Covington County Fair.

“I wanted to get involved in something, and when I stopped at the booth, I decided to apply. I wanted to help others, but I didn’t know how,” Mooney said.

Lola Shakespeare first volunteered a year ago following her retirement when the facility was known as Comfort Care Hospice.

“I was thinking about volunteering somewhere to fill the time I had now. Ms. Judy mentioned volunteering with hospice. I feel like I’m helping because I can be there with their loved ones when they’re gone to an appointment or to the store, and they don’t have to worry,” Shakespeare said.

Mary Brazzell has served as a volunteer for the last nine years.

“I like helping people and enjoy going to visit the patients. I love being with people, and I’m a talker. I loved being in the community doing events like the Butterfly Release and seeing everybody,” Brazzell said.

Each woman takes pride in being a volunteer with Aveanna Hospice.

“To me, it means you give your all to the people in need. They aren’t able to do everything, and you are there for them. It means something to them,” Shakespeare said. “I think it means helping others,” Ruth Duncan, a 14-year volunteer, added.

The volunteers expressed gratitude to the Aveanna staff for offering support.

“They treat us like everyone else in the office. Some places treat volunteers a little differently, but here, we are a part of them like everyone else,” Mooney said. “Judy is a very nice person, and I love to hear her voice. She makes me smile,” Duncan said. “We have always been like a family,” Shakespeare said.

Brazzell referenced her childhood days as a connection to the duties assigned to her.

“When we were growing up, we had to go see about the older folks in our neighborhood. It was what we did. We checked on them and made sure they had what they needed. We spent the night with them if they were sick. That’s what I like about volunteering. It’s seeing about others in your community,” she said.

Volunteer Coordinator Judy Ramsey described her job as a rewarding one.

“I love our volunteers, and I am grateful they choose to volunteer with our patients and us. Whether they do direct care or indirect care, every moment adds something to our patients, caregivers, and staff. Volunteers go through training that is specific to hospice, infection control, and emergency preparedness. They all have background checks before they begin their volunteer duties. April is their month, and we appreciate all the time they spend with our patients and the time they spend at the office working,” Ramsey said.

Aveanna Hospice is located at 820 South Three Notch Street, Suite C in Andalusia. Office hours are weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. with a nurse available on call 24 hours a day.

“We are honored that these volunteers chose our hospice to give their time to. Elizabeth Andrews said, ‘Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.’ We are thankful for their hearts,” Ray said.

For more information visit aveanna.com or call 334-427-4000.