GREENVILLE — Bruce Miller, 82, of Greenville, has been a volunteer at State of the Heart Care for four years. Shortly after his wife passed away from Cancer, in 2012, he began volunteering.
“It is an outward expression of an inward feeling to help those who can’t help themselves because of illness or discomfort,” he said.
Miller delivers personal items to hospice patients homes, including medicines he picks up from the pharmacy. Sometimes he visits patients that are alone, who just need someone to listen. In addition to serving Greenville, he also travels once a week to Coldwater, Ohio and Portland Indiana, State of the Heart’s other service areas.
“I very seldom see the patient themselves, but I know what I’m doing helps them in some way, and that is the most important to me. It is not something to build a resume on or anything like that — if you can’t do it from the heart, you shouldn’t be a volunteer,” Miller said.
For those waiting for an opportunity, Saturday, Nov. 19 is Family Volunteer Day. The day is sponsored by The Walt Disney Company and powered by generationOn, the youth division of Points of Light, which is the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service. Last year, a record-breaking 21,000 people reported volunteering on Family Volunteer Day, according to Senior Director; Clubs, Campaigns and Days of Service for generationOn Sarah Fanslau.
“This year we are hoping for more,” she said.
Tools are available at generationOn.org/fvd to help families find a volunteer site nearby, or to participate in do-it-yourself activities. A number of really quick and fun projects might appeal to some, such as making cards for armed services members, making dog treats for animal shelters, or visiting a senior center and creating activities.
“Volunteering helps people become compassionate and empathetic, things that we all desperately need right now,” Fanslau said.
Volunteer Manager Christena Subler, for State of the Heart Care, said the agency needs more volunteers, like Miller.
“A lot of these patients have no family, their friends have passed away and they are alone,” she said. “We don’t believe that anyone should pass away alone. Patients are coming onto hospice earlier, which means they are on the program longer, which means the need for volunteers just keeps growing,” she said.
According to Subler, training for State of the Heart is easier than ever, as it is offered online to anyone at least 16 years old. If time is too short for a full-time commitment, other helpful activities are needed, such as sewing; mailing; answering phones and calling to check in on patients.
“If they have the time and are willing to volunteer, we will find something that meets both of our needs that will work with a patient,” Subler said.
To volunteer for State of the Heart Care, visit stateoftheheartcare.org.
A State of the Heart Care volunteer cares for a hospice patient.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.