An Iowa River Hospice volunteer works with patients suffering life-altering illnesses, with family members/friends whose loved ones suffer from such illness, or with the bereaved. Why does a person volunteer to do such work?
"Volunteering for Iowa River Hospice is rewarding," said Jo Heindselman, Iowa River Hospice 2013 Volunteer of the Year. "I gain friendships, receive appreciation and hugs, and I'm able to use my spiritual gifts - helping and encouraging."
Heindselman began volunteering at Iowa River Hospice in 2005, taking the volunteer training and "hitting the ground running. I began volunteering with patients, one at a time."
Jo Heindselman was named Iowa River Hospice 2013 Volunteer of the Year. Heindselman has been volunteering since 2005.
During these past eight years, Heindselman has cared for and about many patients.
"Each person is unique and memorable. I enjoy the older patients, listening to their life stories and what they are grateful for," she said.
Caring for others stems from Heindselman's service heart; before coming to volunteer at Iowa River Hospice, she spent several years in education in the classroom and at the area education agency. She also worked at Mitchell Family Funeral Home, and she volunteers at her church.
Through these eight years Heidselman has completed about every volunteer task possible: office work, newsletters, gardening, greeting Iowa River Hospice Home visitors and baking cookies.
Although Heindselman now also serves Iowa River Hospice as assistant volunteer coordinator, working 12 to 14 hours a week. She continues to volunteer three to four hours a week, focusing on the Hospice Home. The Hospice Home does not have a cook on staff, so she buys groceries weekly, makes patient meals, visits patients and greets Hospice Home visitors.
"If Jo thinks something she is doing falls into 'volunteering'," said Marilee Lawler, Iowa River Hospice executive director. "She'll take off her employee cap, put on her volunteer cap and not put in for reimbursement. She is dedicated to our patients and families."
Heindselman received her award on Sept. 13 at the annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony sponsored by the Hospice & Palliative Care Association of Iowa, along with several other hospice volunteers across the state of Iowa. According to the Association, between July 2012 and June 2013, hospice volunteers in Iowa gave 122,948 hours of care.
Iowa River Hospice serves the needs of patients with life-altering illnesses and their families within a 40-mile radius of Marshalltown. A non-profit organization, its mission is to provide quality care and comfort for the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families.
For more information about Iowa River Hospice, visit the office, phone 641-753-7704 or visit its website www.IowaRiverHospice.org.