Volunteer Spotlight: Jackie Brown

Name: Jackie Brown

How long have you been a volunteer?
Four-and-a-half years

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do?
Works in medical records, makes kits for home care nurses in medical supplies, helps at fundraisers, and mailings. Has worked the memorials, children’s workshop at Christmas, and was a Flower Bud.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
My grandson passed unexpectedly at 24 and I prayed because the family got a lot of graces from his passing. Then two years later my sister got sick and I was her caregiver and she passed. These things really bothered me and I had a cousin that told me about Tree of Life at Laurel Park and that she had sent an angel there. I had no idea what she meant. So I went to Tree of Life and spent a couple hours looking for my sister’s angel. I thought that was such a nice thing to do. And the women working it talked to me for a bit.

Then a friend whose mother had just passed called me and she told me she wanted to volunteer in hospice. Maybe eight months later she told me she was going to volunteer at Angela Hospice and that she really wanted me to go with her. So I came and I met Syndie [Angela Hospice’s Volunteer Services Manager], and thought she was a marvelous person. I thought the building was marvelous. I thought this might be something I want to do. I wasn’t quite sure. So I attended the eight week course, did everything we had to do, sat and talked to Syndie again, and found out that I could do medical things because of my background. Helping with medical supplies was the first thing I did and then mailings.

I’m here most of the time because my motto is if I’m going to work and do something I want to take my whole day because I planned it that way. There’s always plenty to do here. They just need so much done. It’s been my pleasure and blessing to be able to come.

Jackie Brown (right) with fellow
volunteer Christine Depowski.
Favorite part about volunteering?
My favorite thing is meeting all the people. Mentoring sometimes, and working with all these women ─ and sometimes men ─ it’s a fulfillment to be able to work with different people from all walks of life. All these different jobs they’ve had ─ secretaries, doctors, whatever ─ you have all these careers right here, all joined together, and they are all working together. If we could do this throughout the world it would be wonderful because it’s an environment that’s really peaceful. That’s another reason why I like volunteering. It’s peaceful, it’s relaxing, and you can talk to anybody about anything. It’s like we’re all on the same level. We’re a huge team.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
When I was a Flower Bud a gentleman asked me to shake his hand when I dropped off flowers. I said yes, and I hope he didn’t mind because my hands were rough from working with the flowers. He laughed and said, “You’re like an angel for me today.”

I was told he wasn’t talkative or responsive but he talked to me. Before I left, he said, “I need a hug.” And I gave him a hug. That moment was very touching for me. It was very spiritual because I didn’t expect it because of what the nurses had said about him not being responsive. Then I went in to see how his flowers were doing the next day and the nurses told me he had passed during the night. Maybe he just needed to see somebody and didn’t have a family that could make it. So that was a good thing.

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