Daily Point of Light # 2718 Jul 6, 2004

Hospice of the Valley provides compassionate end-of-life care designed to meet the physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs of the patient and family. This enables them to experience life and death with grace and dignity. The volunteers at the agency are the heart and soul of their organization. Currently they have 140 volunteers, and Marty Kent is one of those outstanding individuals.

Mr. Kent primarily volunteers his service in the office. Each Friday morning he appears to answer phones for at least three to four hours. During 2002, he volunteered the most hours of any other volunteer in the agency, and he continues to give an extraordinary amount of his time each year. The first contact is vital when someone calls an agency, and Mr. Kent displays a cheery and informed attitude that conveys to the caller they are important, as are all of their questions. He is able to service the callers with information and compassion.

Mr. Kent has been serving with the Hospice for almost five years. While retirement for some means to withdraw and live at leisure, Mr. Kent has decided to use his days and hours to help others. Besides his office volunteering, Mr. Kent has worked with some of the patients. He does for them some of the chores they are no longer able to handle such as grocery shopping. Even his errands are done with care and concern, and he is an example to the other agency volunteers.

Mr. Kent not only impacts the Hospice and those utilizing their service, but he impacts the entire community. When answering a question helps families or running errands, everyone benefits. Because of Mr. Kent and other Hospice volunteers, the community friends, neighbors and citizens of Morgan and Lawrence Counties would not be provided the choice to remain at home during the last days of a life threatening illness. This is a gift given to the community at large.

In addition to these activities, Mr. Kent works with the Hospice Family Survey. He calls the families to check on their satisfaction with the hospice services. He creates an atmosphere where families feel the freedom to express positive as well as negative thoughts. Whenever there is negative feedback, Mr. Kent does not become defensive, but he remains an active listeners. He then lets the family know the issue will be addresses. This entire process is comforting to the families.

Annually, the Hospice has a memorial service as a part of their bereavement program. Family members who have experienced the death of a loved one are invited to the service as a celebration of the life of their loved one. Mr. Kent has taken an active role in planning and participating in these services, which are healing for all the families involved.

Mr. Kent does all this while being an incredible husband and caregiver at his home. His wife has multiple sclerosis, and he can only volunteer in the mornings as the afternoons and evenings are devoted to his wife. He is dedicated at home but still gives of himself to help others who are in need.