Volunteer Spotlight: Phil Ernzen

A weekly feature where you can get to know some of our volunteers.

Name: Phil Ernzen

How long have you been a volunteer?
Going on two years

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Plays music and sings songs as a form of music therapy for patients and their visitors.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I've been a hospice volunteer in different places for over 12 years. I just love the experience of volunteering in a hospice setting. It's very, very fulfilling and rewarding.

Why Angela Hospice?
I was at another hospice and I met somebody who was working here. They talked about how nice it was. Based on what they said I checked it out and I was very impressed with the operation here. So I came.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Meeting the people. Feeling that you're making a difference in their lives at a very important time -- both the patients and their family or visitors -- but also the staff has been very welcoming and helpful to me. As I enter into each of the wings the staff there will point me in the right direction to people they think might be particularly open and receptive or helped by my music at any given time.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I've met a lot of really interesting people. I've made some pretty good friendships with folks that have had a relatively long stay here. Some patients are here a lot longer than others and I get to know them fairly well. I get to know about their life story and their family and what they like. That's very rewarding.

Volunteer Spotlight: Dennis Bostwick

A weekly feature where you can get to know some of our volunteers.

Name: Dennis Bostwick

How long have you been a volunteer?
Four years

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Patient care in the Care Center, nursing homes and home care

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
Sister Pat (Hergenroether) was head of Spiritual Care at the time (she’s now retired) and she knew I was retired. We've been friends for years and years. I saw her and she said, “I have just the thing for you now that you've retired.” And she told me about this and I said, “I can't do that, are you kidding?” And she goes, “You can do this.” She sent me the information and I looked it over. I mentioned it to my wife and she said, "You'd be good at that." I said, "I'd be good at that? I don't know." I said a little prayer and said if you think I should do this I'm with you. So I took the classes and I liked the enthusiasm of Syndie. And I thought, this is going to be kind of cool. So I did it and it is pretty cool. 

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Seeing a patient smile. Whether it's fooling with them or telling them a joke or holding their hand or something. I mean they wouldn't be in hospice if everything in their life was OK. So to see them smile, that's pretty cool. Especially when you see people that are lonely. That's the part that tugs at me. When they don't have anybody coming to see them, or they're stuck in a nursing home and for whatever reason they are by themselves, or their family doesn't come, and you walk in and they light up – that's why I do it.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
When you get a chance for someone to ever tell you that you meant something to someone in their family, or whatever their relation was, that's cool. 

(Dennis has two examples of this. One is a voicemail he saved from a patient’s family and the other is a letter Angela Hospice received from the family of a patient he had been spending time with.)

Volunteer Spotlight: Susan Bizon

A weekly feature where you can get to know some of our volunteers.

Name: Susan Bizon
 
How long have you been a volunteer? 
Between five and six years.

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do as a volunteer?
•  Helped with patient care in the old Care Center
•  Bakes Pizzelle cookies for families and residents at the Care Center

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
When my sister-in-law was very ill I was her main caregiver. And once Sarah passed away, which was about six years ago, I kind of sat back and said, you know what? She did so much more for me than I did for her… kind of a friend led me here. Then I talked to Syndie and took the classes and it’s felt like home here ever since.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Just being around the patients and just feeling everything that they have to give. It's very rewarding in that area.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
In the old Care Center there was a lady that I kind of formed this relationship with and came to visit her. We would do everything from watching baseball games together to listening to music to listening to her vent about all her woes and her gripes for the day. My husband and I even came to spend Christmas Eve with her one year. She passed away shortly after but I just felt a real connection and a real kinship with this lady.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Bagnasco

A weekly feature where you can get to know some of our volunteers.

Name: Mary Bagnasco 

How long have you been a volunteer?
On and off for about ten years.

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do as a volunteer?
•    Helps with patient care in the Care Center 
•    Makes flower arrangements as a “Flower Bud” volunteer (“I love the way the flowers brighten up the patients,” she says.)

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I'm a retried RN and I always had an interest in hospice. Even when I did my training I was interested in hospice. It was kind of natural for me to evolve here. So that's how that all got started. 

Why Angela Hospice?
Because of personal experience. My mother was in Angela Hospice in 1994 and that was my first introduction to it.
 
What is your favorite part about volunteering?
I like the feeling that I'm really doing something that matters with my time. I love the way I feel when I leave here. You feel like you've done something that matters. 

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I have many, many, many memories. They are all kind of blurred into one. They are all positive. I think talking with the patients and the families and maybe helping them through the day has been the biggest reward. That's kind of my memory all in a ball.

Everyone’s a VIP at Angela Hospice gala

This week the Observer & Eccentric featured an article about the upcoming "You Are the Star" Light Up a Life Gala. Check it out here: