Fran Miller has been faithfully working in the hospice office every Tuesday morning for the past five years. She began her work after finding out about hospice volunteering in her church bulletin.
In an interview for our hospice newsletter she said, "I chose hospice because it is something I've always been interested in. After my dad passed and my mother got older, it seemed that she didn't do much." Unlike her mother, Fran wanted to continue to offer her talents to others on a regular basis. "When I retired," she recalls, "It gave me something to do. At that time there were more volunteers than patients, so when the office found out about my work experience, they asked me if I'd do office work and it has grown from there."
Fran sends out satisfaction survey letters to the families of all our hospice patients. She makes all of the sympathy, birthday, and holiday cards that go out to our patients and their families. She copies and compiles all the information and needed forms for opening packets, and yet she still makes time to visit patients when needed. When asked what keeps her coming back every week, she replied, "The people I work with. They are a nice, friendly, and caring bunch. I admire the people who work here. They have to be a special kind to do this work." Fran is also a special kind. Not only does she serve hospice in her clerical duties and in direct patient services when she's needed, she gives to the staff.
Everyone who comes into the room where Fran works is greeted by a wide, genuine smile and a sincere interest in their wellbeing. All the staff looks forward to being the recipient of one of her hugs. Moreover, she never forgets to send one of her handmade cards acknowledging the staff on almost every holiday.
She is equally caring, if not more so, to the patients and families she visits. There has never been anything but positive feedback from the people she has seen. She is willing to be a listening ear, an errand runner, or a housekeeper, making herself available for whatever is needed at the time. Fran is no stranger to care giving or to grief. She once lost three close family members in less than a year's time. She helped care for her mother. Yet, Fran is one to transform painful experiences into deep and quiet compassion.
Fran finds that what is important in her life is God, family, and friends. Fran makes time for them all. In this era, it is remarkable to find someone who is dedicated enough to volunteer for the same organization for over five years. It is even more remarkable that she does so with enthusiasm, with empathy, and with the humility of one who is truly dedicated to what she does.