Hospice Volunteer Continues to Give

Angelic Health Blog - Hospice Volunteer Continues to Give

New Jersey man is Angelic Health Hospice's Longest Serving Volunteer

In today's fast-paced world of shopping from the couch and watching TV in line at the grocery store, finding individuals who selflessly dedicate their time to serving others can be a rare gem. Rich Hawthorne, of Oceanview, NJ is one such exceptional individual who chose to become an Angelic Health Hospice volunteer in 2018. Today he holds the distinction of being the longest serving hospice volunteer with Angelic; having visited with over 20 patients in the past six years. With his unwavering commitment and compassionate nature, Hawthorne has touched the lives of many patients and their families, providing comfort, support, and a source of hope during their most challenging times. “I get more than I give,” Hawthorne said.

Prior to his service at Angelic Health, Hawthorne held a position as a Stephen Minister at St. Peter's Ministry in Ocean City, NJ. It was during his time at the ministry that Hawthorne discovered the importance of active listening and empathy. As time progressed, Hawthorne wanted to do more with his newfound skills and discovered the Angelic Health Volunteer program. Since he first joined us in 2018, Hawthorne has become highly respected for his ability to put a smile on anyone's face, and for being a dependable and joyful person.

“Rich is a wonderful man and has endeared himself to the patients he visits and their loved ones,” said Margie Barham, director of communications, public relations and giving for Angelic Health. “I knew he was someone special when he first came into our office inquiring about volunteering. We were a small organization back then, a handful of staff and only a couple of volunteers. But with the first patient he visited he made a difference right from the start.”

Driven by his deep empathy and desire to make a positive impact in his community, Hawthorne recognized the profound significance of hospice care. Armed with a compassionate heart and a willingness to lend a helping hand, he set out on a journey that would forever change his perspective on life. Hawthorne explained that much of his work isn't just centered around the patient, but their loved ones and caregivers too.

“The caregivers really appreciate having a minute to relax while we spend time with our patients,” Hawthorne mentioned that he often includes caregivers during his visits. Whether he spends his time engaging in meaningful conversations, assisting with daily tasks, or simply offering a comforting presence, his dedication to improving the quality of life for those in hospice care is nothing short of extraordinary.

He found that catering to his patients' hobbies and interests was an excellent way to provide them with appropriate care to put a smile on their faces. Recognizing the importance of creating moments of joy and normalcy, he has organized various activities and outings for patients. In his earlier years of service at Angelic, Hawthorne recalled a patient who had lost his mother and twin brother, leaving him with feelings of despair and loneliness.

The patient, who formerly worked with horses, would spend countless hours in front of his television watching cowboy movies all day every day. With the patient's birthday approaching, Hawthorne arranged for mini horses to come by to bring a smile to his patient's face. Hawthorne recalls that the duo had a wonderful time. “I try to do things that are good for the patient,” he said. Through his efforts, he has not only created cherished memories but also reminded patients that life is meant to be lived to the fullest, even in the face of adversity.

Rich Hawthorne's journey as a volunteer at Angelic Health exemplifies the power of selflessness and compassion. Over the years, he has touched the lives of many, providing comfort, support, and hope to those in need. As we acknowledge his remarkable contributions, let Hawthorne's story serve as a reminder that even a single individual can make a profound difference in the lives of others. Leaving an enduring legacy of love and compassion.