John “Jack” Sheehan has been a volunteer for Hospice of Palm Beach County since 1980, serving hundreds of patients and families. He is 83 years old. Although his body moves more slowly, his heart still reaches out to those in need. He takes his volunteer service seriously and sits beside someone so they will not die alone, and he has driven through the city for hours to grant a dying man’s last wish.
Sheehan has never been much for writing reports so it is hard for the Hospice to document the exact hours he serves. He believes people are more important than reports so he spends his time with the people. He gets to know the patient and their family and makes sure both are feeling better before he leaves. He fulfills his role as a home caregiver by meeting the needs of his client and their family and making that a priority over himself.
Sheehan is positive and works to only comment on the good things. He portrays only the good, always looking at the positive. When he sees the downtrodden and the ill, he looks sad but goes on to make sure each situation he faces is made better in some way.
To describe Jack Sheehan one thinks of humility, compassion, devotion to others, selflessness, generosity and in short, a role model for all mankind. A die-hard Irishman, he knows no color or ethnic boundaries. On one St Patrick’s Day, Sheehan came into the Hospice facility in full Leprechaun regalia right down to the buckles on the shoes. He wanted to make the patients’ day a little happier, and that he did. Unresponsive patients began to talk, and patients who had not been able to smile were almost laughing when he made his visits to each and every one.
Last and certainly not least, one of Sheehan’s most memorable acts of kindness involved a lady, a stranger, who was black and blue all over and very ill. She had no one to care for her. He worked feverishly to get her the medical help she needed, and she eventually became a patient of Hospice. He sat with her every day until her death, though he hardly knew her name. She knew him as her angel.