Every year, CVHHH relies on the support of about 125 volunteers. Some people help out in our Berlin office with administrative tasks or by making patient survey phone calls. Others prefer to get involved in fundraising and events. About 30 of these volunteers choose to go through an extensive training so that they may work directly with patients and families enrolled in hospice.
April is National Volunteer Month. In acknowledgement of the positive impact volunteers have on our patients and the broader central Vermont community, we are sharing stories from five individuals who give their time, energy, and creativity to support CVHHH. Each person’s reasons for giving back are as unique as they are inspiring. We are so grateful for their support and for the support of all of our volunteers.
Pat McDonald, Town Funding Volunteer & Former Board Member
Pat McDonald is, in her own words, “74 and still cooking.” Over a 50-year career in the public and private sectors, Pat held seven appointed positions under three Vermont governors, served two terms as a representative from Berlin in the Vermont Statehouse, and she ran now-governor Phil Scott’s first successful campaign for lieutenant governor. These days, Pat volunteers as a board member for Prevent Child Abuse Vermont and as board chair of Campaign for Vermont, for which she also hosts a public-access TV show. A former CVHHH board member, Pat also helps CVHHH as a member of the volunteer town funding committee. This year, Pat collected approximately 120 signatures from Berlin residents to support our request to be included on Berlin’s town meeting day petition.
Why I Volunteer “CVHHH does phenomenal work, and I love the management team. I had so much fun collecting signatures because I got to see everyone in town, and my town, Berlin, is always very generous.”
Rachael Richards, Chair, Golf Tournament Volunteer Planning Committee
You could say that golf runs in Rachael Richards’s family. Rachael’s husband plays as do both of her sons, who golf competitively. Rachael, who lives in East Montpelier and is a category manager for Cabot, is in her fourth year as chair of the Hospice Memorial Golf Tournament Planning Committee. Over the years, Rachael has enjoyed helping plan and run this event, which raises close to $30,000 a year to support our hospice program, and which has featured both of her sons as “Beat the Kid” golfers.
Why I Volunteer Two of Rachael’s grandparents, who lived in Connecticut, utilized hospice. “Hospice was such a wonderful, wonderful thing. I truly value what hospice does and think the service is so important. In addition, it’s been fun for me to have my sons at the event and to offer my children the opportunity to volunteer and raise money for a good cause.”
Ram Verma, Hospice Volunteer
Ram came to hospice volunteering, in part, as a way to deal with his mother’s death and to process his grief. “At the time, it really helped open up my heart,” he says. “It taught me to empathize and make connections with people and to learn about different families.” Today, most of Ram’s time as a volunteer is spent at local nursing homes, where he sits vigil with people enrolled in our hospice program. Ram, who is the director of technology services for the Vermont State Treasurer’s Office, often uses touch to let his clients know he’s there. He holds their hands while he sits with them for a few hours at a time.
Why I Volunteer “Volunteering is a way for me to give back to this wonderful community. I feel privileged to sit vigil with my clients and to do this work in Vermont.”
Angelina Buzzi, Chair, Seasons of Life Planning Committee
“CVHHH played a very important role in my life twenty five years ago when I lost my best friend and mother,” says Angelina, who lives in Berlin and works as a paralegal with National Life’s law group. When Angelina’s mother, Velma Eve Bolkum, was diagnosed with lung cancer, CVHHH’s nurses and caregivers kept Velma comfortable and helped Angelina and her family understand what was happening as their mother’s cancer progressed.
Why I Volunteer “As my mother’s health declined, CVHHH was helpful to my family. The process happened so quickly, and I really was in denial. I have always said that I would give back to CVHHH in a meaningful way.”
Tim Shea, Patient Survey Volunteer
Tim Shea is a busy man. In addition to his job at National Life, where he spearheads National Life’s staff volunteer program and was one of the co-creators of the company’s annual Do Good festival, he is an avid endurance athlete and a regular CVHHH volunteer.
Though he can’t point to one thing as his inspiration, Tim is active as a volunteer. “Volunteering is something that’s resonated with me for quite some time, and my experiences are diverse. I have been involved with the Vermont Green Building Network, Just Basics, and Girls on the Run.
Why I Volunteer “It’s nice to feel like I am making a difference in people’s lives. This is what motivates me to continue. I certainly recognize the good that CVHHH does and recognize the positive impact on caregivers. That’s been inspirational for me.”
Want to Learn More?
To learn more about volunteering opportunities at CVHHH, visit our Events & Program Volunteering section.