Volunteer Spotlight: Sandy Barr

Name: Sandy Barr

How long have you been a volunteer?
Almost three years.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Makes salads for the caregiver suppers, mailings, BBQs, is a Flower Bud, and has worked events.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
The reason I wanted to volunteer at Angela Hospice is because I knew it was a good place. They helped my mother, who had cancer, and we all have family members that they’ve been great with.

Before I retired, I worked with Angela Hospice at the credit union. They were one of my accounts. So when I retired I said, “That’s what I want to do.”

Sandy has volunteered in a variety of areas.
What is your favorite part about volunteering?
The diversity. They can use you in so many different areas. There’s always a need somewhere.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I think the most rewarding of what I’ve done has been the flower arranging. You know, fixing the flowers, and then bringing them around to the rooms. The people just seem so happy when you bring in a beautiful vase of flowers you had put together.

Support Angela Hospice On #GivingTuesday


Do you love to give and help others? Then participate in #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, November 29, the day after Cyber Monday!

So what can you do on this international day of giving? We have a few ideas:
  • Take an #UNselfie. Show the world why Angela Hospice means so much to you. Download this flyer and post it on social media. Be sure to tag us on Facebook and Twitter so we can put your photo in our #UNselfie album!
  • Give your time. Help out a neighbor in need or volunteer
  • Donate money to your favorite charity, like Angela Hospice, which you can donate to here. 
  • Write a wonderful review. Organizations depend on kind words from people like you to help spread the word about what we do. Write a review about Angela Hospice. 
Those are just a few ideas for what you could do on #GivingTuesday! It doesn't matter what exactly you do, what matters is that you give in some way. Let us know how you plan on participating!

#GivingTuesday started in 2012 when the New York's 92nd Street Y was inspired by the core Jewish value of tikkun olam, which means, “repairing the world." Now, a few short years later, there are over 30,000 partners participating in 68 countries, including us.

If you have any questions, please contact Dana Casadei at (734) 953-6053 or email dcasadei@angelahospice.us.

Employee Spotlight: Krystie Davis

Name: Krystie Davis, RN Home Care Case Manager

How long have you worked here?
Four years.

What made you decide to work here?
While going through Wayne State University Nursing School I worked as a caregiver at an assisted living facility, and Medtech. I loved that with this job I got to know residents and families, and I really enjoyed working with the elderly. There was a hospice RN who used to come to the facility I worked at, and she knew I was going through nursing school, so she would talk to me and teach me things about hospice. I found her job very interesting and knew I wanted to find out more about it.

When I was in my community clinical rotation my last semester of nursing school, I was able to shadow Karen Cafeo (Angela Hospice Director of Quality Systems and RN) for a day and I loved it. A few months after graduation and taking my boards, I put in an application and was hired right away for the position.

What is a typical day for you?
Not sure if there is really a “typical” day for a RN Case Manager. Every day is different and a new adventure, which I really enjoy about my job.

In the morning I always listen to voicemails from the night/weekend before. On Monday mornings I make phone calls to my patients/families and set-up my schedule for the week. I see around 4-6 patients a day. I do most of my charting in the evening when I get home for a few hours each night. On Fridays I make tuck-in phone calls for the weekend, making sure my patients have all their prospective needs met, enough medications and supplies, etc., before the weekend.

Krystie (far right) at last year's Light Up a Life gala.
What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
Knowing that I am able to make a difference in my patients’ and families’ lives, and making sure their wishes at the end of life come true.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
I worked an on-call shift for Christmas Day a few years ago and I was called out to a death visit. After driving at least an hour away (and wondering this whole time if this patient was really in our service area!) I arrived at the patient’s home. The patient’s son and daughter greeted me and I offered my condolences. They took me to the back family room where their Dad was in his recliner chair, sat right in front of a huge picture window overlooking a lake. It was snowing and such a beautiful scene. The family said Dad died peacefully in his favorite chair, doing what he loved most, overlooking the lake and watching the snow fall. I have had many moments like this while working for Angela Hospice; these special moments always remind me why I love doing my job. We allow patients to stay in their home and die peacefully with their loved ones surrounding them; what a great gift.

Volunteer Spotlight: John and Lucy Stern

For John and Lucy Stern the We Honor Veterans program at Angela Hospice is much more than just a way to gain volunteer hours. It’s a deep-rooted passion.

“I always call it a labor of love, and labor isn’t really a good word. It’s more of an activity of love,” John said. “We just really, really enjoy it.”

Their enjoyment is clear in a variety of ways but it’s really seen when you look at the program’s numbers. John and Lucy – who spearheaded We Honor Veterans at Angela Hospice – along with the help of 12 other volunteers, have performed over 400 ceremonies since the inception of the program. The most impressive part? They’ve done all those ceremonies in less than four years.

“We thought it was just going to be a couple ceremonies here and there,” Lucy said.

The Sterns first got the idea for bringing the program to Angela Hospice when Lucy found an article about We Honor Veterans in a nursing journal. Lucy, a now retired nurse who has been connected to Angela Hospice since it first began “back in the stone age,” then went to a few staff members about the program. All of them were enthusiastic about it but said they didn’t have time to run something like that. They did encourage John and Lucy to go ahead with it though.

“It’s just something that I totally embraced, because being a veteran I’m pro-veteran,” said John, who served in the Air Force from 1962-1966. “When Lucy brought that home I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’”

After getting the go-ahead from Angela Hospice, John and Lucy did what most do in this day and age; they went online to get more information about it and get the ball rolling, which hasn’t stopped over the last few years. On top of doing over 400 pinning ceremonies they have already achieved Level 2 status for the program and are working on Level 3, which they said is the hardest of the four levels to achieve.

Now the program runs as smoothly and efficiently as – well, an army watch. First they get a patient’s information. Then they make a phone call where they give their “spiel” about what the program is. John said they usually get a pretty immediate yes or no. If a family says “yes” then they set up a date for the ceremony, which the Sterns are willing to do whenever and wherever works best for the patient.

“Every time we go to a family and the veteran, we thank them…that’s special to us,” John said. “It doesn’t matter if there are two people or 20 people, or 50 people or 100 people, or just the veteran.

“It’s just a treat and a thrill…and see the reaction of the family and loved one,” John continued.

John and Lucy outside the
Care Center.
Each ceremony becomes as unique as the individual receiving it. They’ve done ceremonies in the Angela Hospice Care Center kitchen and local restaurants and one time in a garage that had been turned into an apartment. The locations may change, but each veteran receives a certificate, some military pins, a couple of thank-you letters, and a love blanket made by one of the volunteers. The veterans aren’t the only ones who receive something though, so do John and Lucy.

“There’s a lot of family interaction that we wind up being blessed with seeing,” Lucy said.

One example would be when a daughter set up her dad’s We Honor Veterans ceremony at a restaurant he went to weekly. John and Lucy showed up much to the man’s surprise to perform the ceremony. He was a little more apprehensive than his wife and daughter about it until, as John puts it, his daughter laid down the law and told him he wasn’t getting out of it.

“It was kind of funny,” Lucy said. “Especially when we realized the guy they were talking about was the one standing in the corner with all these other people not letting him leave.”

“He realized it wasn’t a bad thing so he sat there next to his wife and let us do the ceremony,” John said.

Another example would be the man who was living in his ex-wife’s garage. He was a Vietnam veteran and had friends coming to town to celebrate his life, which seemed like the perfect time to do a pinning ceremony.

They presented him the certificate and he told them that was enough; that they didn’t need to do the whole presentation. But John continued. What followed was a few of the most memorable moments the Sterns have seen since the program began.

“His buddies were cheering him on,” Lucy said. “I think the most remarkable part was watching him try to be kind of macho…and he had a young teenage son. His dad is saying he doesn’t need this blanket thing and it didn’t matter. He might not have needed it but his son was like, ‘Dad, I’m taking that for me.’

“That sense of pride for what his dad did…then his dad was a whole lot different,” Lucy continued. “It was just amazing.”

While they’re both far too humble to admit it, what the Sterns have done for Angela Hospice has been pretty amazing too.

Volunteer Spotlight: Brenda McClellan

Name: Brenda McClellan

How long have you been a volunteer?
Three years.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Started in the Care Center, now volunteers in medical records and helps with the mailings.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I had some extra time. I didn’t want to get a paying job because I didn’t know how regular I’d be able to do that because of other commitments so I decided to volunteer. I started looking for a place to volunteer and I have friends who volunteer here (one from high school, the other from college). They recommended it, so I started.

Brenda works in the Medical Records department.
What is your favorite part about volunteering?
I just like being active and out with people. I’m a quiet person but I just like being out with people, talking, chatting, here and there. 

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
When I was taking the classes with Syndie I enjoyed meeting all the women in there and their different walks of life, what they planned to do here. Some of them are still here, some of them aren’t. I enjoyed working in the Care Center. I was there just a short while because I didn’t think it was a perfect fit for me.

I guess just making a difference – helping out – is reason enough for me.