When Yvonne started volunteering with Heart ‘n Home she had no idea that this act of giving would enrich her life so much. Yvonne is a retired nurse who is also a US Marines Veteran. She moved from Alaska to Central Oregon with her husband after they retired. She enjoys the area and being close to family.
Sadly, three years ago, Yvonne lost her husband. “We were married for 51 years and he was my best friend. We did everything together,” she said. He was on hospice with Heart ‘n Home before he passed. She said, “Heart ‘n Home was amazing. I went through some pretty bad times and they were there for me. I went through the grief counseling here and what I’ve learned on how to take care of myself allowed me to go on.” She wanted to find a way to help other people so she decided to become a Hospice Volunteer.
As a Volunteer with Heart ‘n Home, she was assigned to a little lady named Helene. These two ladies became instant friends because of their love of quilting. Helene had quilted her whole life but had given up her hobby when it became too hard to run a sewing machine. Her things had been stored away and she thought she would never get to quilt again. Yvonne changed that. Yvonne helped her organize her supplies and has been helping her finish a quilt that Helene can leave as an heirloom to her family. (You can read more about Helene’s story here.)
Yvonne has such a giving heart. When I asked her what she liked about volunteering, she said, “I get to do what I love.” She loves to knit and sew. She currently is making quilts for a local adult foster home. They have six bedrooms and she is making a quilt for each bed. She had a friend who lived in the home and that friend passed away at Christmas. These quilts will be given to that same home in her friend’s honor.
Along with volunteering with Helene, Yvonne also volunteers with other Veterans. She also does 11th-hour volunteering to be with patients and their families at the end of life. She said, “There’s nothing that I’m unwilling to do because they’ve (bereavement counselors) given me the strength to do it. It’s invaluable to me.”
Yvonne adds, “Volunteering gives me purpose. I know it’s about the patients and it’s not about the Volunteers, but I’m going to tell you my heart gets filled. A lot.”
To learn more about how Volunteers help enrich the lives of our patients, check out this video that a few of our Volunteers made.