FORT MADISON – For Ruth Gayton, May 2017 was a memorable time for her. She retired after 24 years of teaching business, and was looking for her next opportunity. Thankfully for the Lee County Health Department Hospice she decided volunteering was it.
Gayton was named the 2018 Volunteer of The Year for the LCHD-Hospice, and was recently recognized at the Hospice & Palliative Care Association of Iowa Conference in Ankeny.
“Regardless of the amount of time you can volunteer, serving others in the community is very gratifying,” Gayton said. “Others take comfort in knowing you care.”
Since she had the experience teaching business, organizational skills are a key asset of hers. Gayton assists the office with record keeping by scanning, purging, and filing records for all LCHD programs, not just hospice.
“The amount of hours Ruth spends at the computer organizing the files for hospice, environmental, oral health, and community health programs have greatly helped,” states Jeri Giebelhausen, LCHD Support Services Coordinator. “We appreciate the fact that we have a volunteer to help in this area.”
When it came to looking at where to volunteer her time, Ruth knew hospice was an area she would like to give back to since both of her parents had received hospice services.
“Hospice has meant a lot to my family,” Gayton said. “Helping others and their families in their time of need is just the right thing to do.”
During the four evenings of training, many topics are touched on to assure the volunteers know how to handle situations, and how to assist families.
“The training was very informative. There were more details than I had expected. I was learning about hospice from the other side after caring for my parents. The training is a great way for people to just learn about hospice as well,” she said.
In the end, volunteering allowed Ruth to be part of a team again after teaching.
“We love when our volunteers come in the office. We get to know them personally, and they get to know us. They help us celebrate personal and professional accomplishments,” said Giebelhausen.
The feeling is mutual for Gayton.
“Being part of the LCHD volunteer support team is so important to me. I enjoy interacting with LCHD staff each week.”
For more information on becoming a LCHD-Hospice volunteer call (319)372-5225. LCHD-Hospice was the first Medicare certified hospice in Southeast Iowa, and have been serving the community for 30 years. LCHD-Hospice offers hospice services in Lee, Des Moines, Henry, and Van Buren Counties in Iowa, and Hancock and Henderson Counties in Illinois.