CRESTVIEW — Driving to DeFuniak Springs to sit with a hospice patient on a moment’s notice is no problem for Alice Fowler.
The Crestview resident primarily relieves caregivers, sitting with patients while a family member runs errands or works, and volunteers in every department at Covenant Hospice, administrators said.
"She has a lot of heart for the patients she cares for,” said Carolyn Williams, the Crestview location’s volunteer manager and community liaison.
Still, Fowler expressed surprise when hospice officials named her Volunteer of the Year during an April 16 luncheon.
"I'm blown away," she said. "I have only been doing it for a year and a half."
During the volunteer appreciation luncheon, the hospice honored its unpaid helpers — thosewho assist in caring for terminally ill patients and provide support for their families — with an award ceremony and door prizes. Crestview Mayor David Cadle stopped by to give a proclamation for National Volunteer Week.
"I didn't understand it at the time when I first started, but the volunteers are truly the heart of Covenant Hospice," said Carolyn Williams, the Crestview location’s volunteer manager and community liaison.
Williams, who has worked from the Crestview location for the past four months, said the volunteers here have impressed her.
"I just tell them where they need to be and they are there; they represent us with dignity and style," she said. "It's not about themselves, it's about the patient."
Williams recognized 13 other volunteers with various recognitions, including the Service Hours Award, Community Award and Patient and Family Support Award.
Holt resident David Brown, who has volunteered more than a year, won the Ambassador award. Brown plays gospel music for hospice patients in Crestview assisted living facilities Carrington Manor and Crestview Manor.
"I wanted to make a difference in their lives, even though it is toward the end of their life," Brown said. "It's rewarding to me ... I hope it is to them."
Fowler said volunteering fulfills her.
"Just knowing I helped somebody ... it’s just everything," she said.
Want to help?
Prospective Covenant Hospice volunteers can call 682-3628. The office is at 317 W. Redstone Ave. See covenanthospice.org for more information.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.