The Real Reward
She’s helper by nature, and Lavonne De Ruiter never had a doubt about volunteering at Hospice of Pella at Pella Regional Health Center. She does a variety of tasks for hospice. Whether it’s reading to a patient, weeding the garden or running much needed medication to a hospice patient in their home, Lavonne knows each duty is important to the person on the receiving end.
Lavonne is 71 and states that small things in life make her happy. She was a teacher, worked at the Christian Opportunity Center and for Marion County Public Health. She enjoys gardening, whether it’s vegetables or flowers, and is active within her church.
Her husband had been sick and suffering for a long time when he was admitted into the Comfort House. He was there for about a week before he died. Lavonne was impressed with the service, staff and everything else while her husband was in the Comfort House. She said the atmosphere was calming and so beneficial for her husband. “I could feel God working with me and with him there. We were in a room called Hope. It was peaceful; a true preparation for heaven,” said Lavonne.
Lavonne took the volunteer training class in the spring of 2010, not long after her husband had died. “It felt right to take the classes. I was very comfortable with my decision to volunteer at hospice,” said Lavonne.
The satisfaction of having someone smile at you that may not be here tomorrow is what keeps Lavonne volunteering. “It really works within my heart,” said Lavonne. “It’s the small things that keep me going. A patient’s smile or a twinkle in their eyes--that’s the real reward for me.”
“It’s always sad when I get a phone call to tell me I don’t need to come in because one of the patients I was working with has died,” said Lavonne. “I get to know them and enjoy them. A true friendship develops. It’s all worth it, every bit of it. I’m glad I can help.”
Try it and you’ll like it is what Lavonne says in regard to people volunteering at hospice. “If you like people there’s a place for you to help at hospice,” said Lavonne. “I look forward to it every time.”
Learn more about Volunteer opportunities at Pella Regional.