Volunteer Spotlight: Esther Keeling

Name: Esther Keeling

How long have you been a volunteer?
Three years

What areas do you work in/what tasks do you do?
Receptionist, events, bereavement, and has served with the Ethics Committee.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I would administer for different nursing homes, so I’ve always given back to the community. Just a love of wanting to help people got me into volunteering.

Why Angela Hospice?
About five years ago I moved to Livonia so Newburgh was my traveling route. I could literally hear Angela Hospice saying, “Come on, come on, stop by.” I saw an ad in one of the local papers for volunteers and I thought, this is cool. So that’s where I started. I was literally just driving by.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
My favorite part about volunteering is actually the joy of seeing the patients as well as the staff. The help, the love. It’s just a loving environment and they are very appreciative, the staff as well. And just being able to help people that may feel like they are lost and don’t know where to turn. It’s just to be able to have the heart to help.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
My favorite memory just occurred this Dec. 7. It was my first memorial. I signed up at the bereavement meeting as a candlelighter. Little did I know two days later I would receive a letter saying that my aunt was also going to be honored at this same memorial. So I’m like, OK, this is cool.

What I saw at the memorial was just so beautiful because it was an hour for individuals that had lost a loved one to come together and really express their joy, their love, whatever they were feeling inside about their loved ones. I thought it was great because at that point my aunt had just died in August, and I didn’t realize there was still some more that I needed to do. So I really appreciated the memorial, being able to light the candles. It was just beautiful to be able to see people just pour their love out right there, it didn’t matter. We all were sharing the same thing. I thought it was so touching, and it was nothing like I’d ever seen before.

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