Tending the Hospice Garden

By: Kate McNamara, Angela Hospice Volunteer

Anyone who has been on the Angela Hospice grounds in the warmer months can’t help but notice the beautiful flowers. Eugene Gorczyca is one of the volunteers contributing his time and talent to that remarkable view.

  Eugene tends to the Angela Hospice flowers.
He has his routine starting with the roses at the main entrance. He follows along the contours of the Care Center taking special care of the roses. He waters all the flowers, clipping and weeding as he makes his way around the building. Next, he goes inside the Care Center to care for the flowers in the interior courtyards. Finally, he goes back outside to the front grounds from the Holy Family statue to the Pergola. He completes this flower circuit two to three times a week. During the hot July days, he does this every other day. At the idea he makes the place beautiful, he quickly responded: “There’s no me in this, it takes a village.”

Eugene’s wife Dolores was an Angela Hospice volunteer too before she received Angela Hospice care at home after developing a brain tumor. She died in 2005. In 2007, Eugene began the volunteer training at Angela Hospice. 

“I did it to repay Angela Hospice for how they treated my wife,” he said. “What can I say about Angela Hospice? It’s a wonderful place to be involved in.”

Having experienced it himself, Eugene wants people to know that “your loved ones can be taken care of at home or at the Care Center, and the family members will be taken care of too.”

“Life is precious, and it’s good to see people at the end-of-life receive the measure of reward and comfort that hospice provides,” he continued.

Eugene does this by the many areas he volunteers in at Angela Hospice. He delivers medications and other items to home care patients. He has also helped at the Walk of Remembrance, has decorated Christmas trees in the Care Center, and has worked at the Tree of Life with his daughter Peggy Sund, a fellow Angela Hospice volunteer and one of his six children. Eugene also volunteers at a hospice in Florida, where he spends half the year. Dolores also volunteered there.

Eugene is a WWII Navy veteran, and
is excited to become involved in the
We Honor Veterans program.
As a WWII Navy veteran, Gorczyca is excited about becoming involved in the We Honor Veterans program at Angela Hospice. 

“Veterans are often forgotten by society,” Eugene said. “It’s a good feeling to sit down with them and bring back memories of their service days so they know there are still people who appreciate all they’ve done.”

Eugene is retired from Ford, but he doesn’t understand the concept of spending retirement years retiring from life.

“I like to read, do puzzles, but you can just do so much of that,” he said.

He enjoys volunteering at Angela Hospice and the sense of a task well done. Of volunteering, he said with a smile, “I recommend it highly, in any way or form. You will be rewarded by doing things for others. And then come 5 o’clock, you can enjoy the spirit of your choice.” 

One of Eugene’s fondest memories of Angela Hospice involves Sister Giovanni. He talks about a time when he first started volunteering at Angela Hospice. He was working on the grounds on a Saturday afternoon. Sister Giovanni walked by and asked how he was by name. Half-an-hour later she came by again holding a milkwood stem in her hand. She told him, “See this leaf, and this little guy here, from this you will get a butterfly.”

Another example of how things turn beautiful. It starts with the little things.

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