Big Bend Hospice Volunteer, Ginger Wheeler, was recognized as the 2020 National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Patient-Family Volunteer of the Year. This award is given to volunteers who best reflect the universal concept of volunteerism in its truest sense – serving as an inspiration to others. Recipients of these awards have demonstrated considerable commitment in terms of time, amount of responsibility assumed, and longevity; they have made a notable impact by significantly strengthening a hospice program or the lives of patients/families served; and have undergone substantial personal growth as hospice volunteers.

Wheeler has been volunteering with Big Bend Hospice for 10 years and is grateful for the opportunity to serve others. She has the perfect mixture of confidence and compassion in her approach to patient care. She can walk into a room, assess the situation, and adapt to what the patient and family needs for the time she is with them. In addition to providing excellent social and emotional support, Ginger has sat with many patients in their final hours, softly reading, singing, or praying with them so they know they are not alone.

As intuitive as she is, what really impresses the staff is her eagerness to learn more. Ginger continues to attend Volunteer In-services, engaging with great questions and responses. When volunteer opportunities were suspended due to COVID19, she immediately channeled her energy by making masks and sewing gowns for our staff and guests. “Our volunteers demonstrate remarkable service, compassion, and commitment. Their gift of caring has a profound impact on patients, families, and the communities they serve, and we cannot say thank you enough for the support they provide,” says Betty Morales, BBH Volunteer Coordinator.

Hospice Volunteers play an indispensable role in enabling Big Bend Hospice to offer the highest-quality care and support possible for the people they serve. By sharing their time, energy, and expertise, volunteers bring compassion and caring to the lives of those in need. Through Ginger’s competence and ability to sincerely care about a patient and their needs, she reminds us all to cherish every moment.