Volunteer Spotlight: Pat Millen

Name: Pat Millen

How long have you been a volunteer?
Two years in April.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Development, events, mailings, salads for Caregiver Suppers, and ice cream socials.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I am in a place in my life that’s really very good and I’ve gotten more free time. My grandchildren don’t need me anymore, they’re all in school now; I used to be there for them in case the parents had to go do something. Now I don’t have to do that and I’m in good health. I just decided that I need to give back and thought, “Where could I do this? How could I volunteer?”

Pat (left) working at Burgers, Brews & Bros.
I was thinking about food pantries and serving meals, but I’ve lived in this community for 45 years, and I only live three miles away. I’ve been associated with the Felicians since school -- I went to school for 12 years with them in Hamtramck…And I thought, “You know, this is close and I think I have skills that I can give to Angela Hospice.” I really like the whole concept that they have over here too.

I think being at Angela Hospice has changed me for the better because everybody is just so nice. I thought this would probably be a good fit for me because I can do a lot of different things and I’m conscientious, dependable. I think I come in with a good attitude…So it’s almost been two years and I’ve loved it. It’s been very nice.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Helping out, meeting the people…just being part of the group. Most everything I’ve done I’ve enjoyed doing so I don’t have any one thing in particular.

I enjoy working in the Development Department, I think it’s a lot of fun to help out with all the events that are going on and see all the background work that happens. I have an office background so I think I kind of fit in over there.

Glitzy Glamour Raffle tickets now on sale

This year's annual Laughter Lifts You Up event already has some really amazing raffle prizes, including the Glitzy Glamour Raffle prize!

One lucky winner will take home a Hearts on Fire 18K White Gold Lorelei Crescent 1.00ct TW Diamond Necklace (pictured left, enlarged to show detail) worth $4,900! This gorgeous piece of jewelry was kindly donated by Orin Jewelers of Garden City.

Tickets are $10 each, 3 tickets for $20 or 10 tickets for $50. The drawing will take place at our annual women’s event, Laughter Lifts You Up, on Thursday, February 23, between 8-10 p.m.

If you won’t be able to make it to Laughter Lifts You Up but still want to buy tickets, that’s fine! You don’t need to be present to win.

Call the Development office at (866) 464-7810 to get tickets over the phone or download the order form here. Or, stop by the Angela Hospice Care Center and speak to the receptionist. Tickets will also be sold at the event.

Interested in more information about Laughter Lifts You Up or want to order tickets for the event? Click here.

Employee Spotlight: Kathy Ostroskie

Name, title: Kathy Ostroskie, Spiritual Care Coordinator

How long have you worked here?
Six years.

What made you decide to work here?
I worked at another hospice for seven years prior to coming to Angela Hospice and the fact that Angela Hospice is a faith-based hospice was the draw for me.  

How had you heard of Angela Hospice?
I had never even heard the word “hospice” until my mother was referred to a hospice program. After that, the hospice philosophy was imprinted on my heart. I live in Livonia and whenever I passed the beautiful Angela Hospice grounds, I just knew that I would work here eventually.

    Kathy in the adoration chapel in the Care Center.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I visit patients and their families in their home setting for any spiritual care needs and then provide those needs, whether it’s a scripture reading, prayer or spiritual conversation, etc. I might also facilitate a patient connection with a parish or locate clergy within the community for any Sacramental need.

What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
I look forward to coming to work every day and working with my great team and volunteers. I also like the fact that every day is a little different.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
We had a very independent patient that sold everything she owned prior to living at our Care Center. She eventually “graduated” out of our program and went to live with her son; which I believe was her heart’s desire (and her son’s). She kept in touch with us afterwards. Her attitude was to “live in the moment,” which is a lesson for all of us!

Volunteer Spotlight: George Weber

Going to a stranger’s home for the first time and knocking on their door is almost always a little nerve-wracking; just ask home care volunteer George Weber.

“Sure, I had a few butterflies ringing my first doorbell!” he said. “However, I knew that I was entering a home that wanted me there… I was accepted as just another part of the Angela Hospice team.”

George volunteers in home care each week.
As a home care volunteer George definitely feels the love from both patients and their families, who are incredibly appreciative he’s there, even if only for a few hours each week.

“A lot of times you’re just a sounding board,” George laughed. “A little bit of a psychologist sometimes too.”

To patients and families, George and all the other home care volunteers who visit are much more than “just a sounding board.” They can give the patient some companionship and comfort. They can give the loved ones a moment to do something for themselves, even if it’s as small as going to CVS for half an hour.

Volunteers like George can also be a fresh face for patients to tell a favorite story that everyone else has heard 1,000 times.

For George, getting to spend time with patients is his favorite part about volunteering, and has left him with many wonderful memories. He had one patient that taught him a little Italian; and another, who was from Germany, telling him all about his history. George also said that many of the patients he’s worked with have a very good sense of humor and make him laugh often.

“It’s been educational for me,” he said. “And it allows them, I think, to reflect on their lives as well. It gives them somebody else to talk to other than family and friends.”

Patients aren’t the only ones that need someone new to talk to; family members do as well.

“If the patient is bed-ridden, or maybe sleeps a lot, sometimes they just want somebody to talk to, somebody to bare their soul to, other than family,” George said. “So kind of that independent party they can tell their woes to.”

During the last year-and-a-half spent volunteering, George has heard all kinds of things from patient’s loved ones, ranging from those that tell him about the family situation, to others who just need to complain a little and get something off their chest.

So how did George, who had no prior hospice experience, become a hospice volunteer in the first place? He was drawn to it.

“I don’t know that I can explain how or why,” he said. “Just once I had heard about it and researched it a little bit, it felt like the right thing.”

George, who retired from Ford after 32 years, began looking up all the hospices in southeast Michigan and came across Angela Hospice, which was highly rated and was Catholic-based, another factor in his decision. George figured a Catholic-based, non-profit hospice would have values similar to his.

Once in volunteer training George was told there was a pretty significant need for home care volunteers, especially men, so he decided that’s the area he would work in.

“It’s been great,” George said. “I truly, truly enjoy it.”

For those who might be hesitant about volunteering in hospice, George recommends they give it a try anyway and see what it’s really about. He wants them to know it isn’t all sitting by someone’s bedside, even though that is part of it, but it’s so much more.

“One thing with hospice is each of us knows the end game, so there’s no mystery,” he said. “It’s a pretty pragmatic approach, so I think that helps take a lot of the pressure off both the patients and me. We both know what’s going to happen.”

George thinks anyone would be a good home care volunteer as long as they can spare a few hours a week, enjoy helping others, can have one-on-one conversations, and have an empathetic ear.

“People should get out of their comfort zone a little bit and learn more about home care because there’s still a need for that,” George said.

For now, George is going to keep volunteering and knocking on those doors, without the butterflies.

To learn more about volunteering at Angela Hospice please call the Volunteer Department at (734) 464-7810 or visit our website, at AskforAngela.com. If you would like to fill out a volunteer application please click here.

Employee Spotlight: Barb Brown

Name, title: Barb Brown, Mission Integration Leader & Administrative Assistant

How long have you worked here?
Six years. (My anniversary is Nov. 8 which also happens to be my birthday. My first day at Angela Hospice was the best birthday present ever.)

What made you decide to work here?
I worked as a volunteer with Angela Hospice and was looking on the website because I had missed receiving the volunteer newsletter. I happened to look at the job openings and saw the Administrative Assistant job advertised. I applied, taking a chance and not thinking anything would come of it, and here I am six years later.

How had you heard of Angela Hospice?
My mother was a patient at Angela Hospice 20 years ago. So my family was fortunate to experience firsthand the wonderful services of Angela Hospice.

What’s a typical day like for you?
I guess the best way to answer that question is that I don’t have typical days – and that’s why I love my job. My days include planning and working on Mission Integration events, reserving meeting spaces, assisting Kristy in HR, monthly orientation for new employees, and miscellaneous administrative tasks for Margot, Marti, and the Board of Directors.

     For this year's Mission & Heritage Week Barb made
    Lady Jacoba cookies for the Felician Sisters in Livonia.
What is your favorite part about working at Angela Hospice?
Though I love everything I do for Angela Hospice, my favorite part is Mission Integration, which allows me to interact with all the employees at Angela Hospice, beginning with their first day of orientation. I am able to share my strong beliefs in the mission statement of Angela Hospice, the Felician Core Values, and the rich history associated with the Felician Ministries. And it has given me the opportunity to meet other people working for Felician Ministries all over the United States and Canada.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Angela Hospice?
I don’t have one specific memory; what does come to mind is that Angela Hospice team members are compassionate, dedicated, and respectful. And it’s not a coincidence that these qualities are the same as the Felician Core Values. I believe you could ask any team member and they would agree that being a faith-based organization is what makes Angela Hospice and its team members special and unique. One can always come to work and feel a sense of peace, even on the most stressful days, because we are always there for each other.