It’s not just JourneyCare that sings the praises of our outstanding volunteers. Organizations within our local communities also have honored several volunteers this year, too.
Nancy Kohlamian and Linda Kurcab
The Barrington Juniors Women’s Club this spring awarded its annual Character Counts! Awards to two volunteers in the community that exemplify respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, trustworthiness and citizenship. For the past 16 years these awards have been offered to people not “in the limelight,” but those who display a track record of dedication and thoughtfulness.
Volunteer Services team members Regan Clute and Peggy Prigge nominated Nancy Kholamian and Linda Kurcab, who both were chosen for this honor.
Nancy is a six-year JourneyCare volunteer with 97 service hours last year. She visits patients and brings a smile to their faces by holding their hands, giving them massages, playing music, praying and maybe even bringing a small gift. Nancy spreads joy in our Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter by putting up holiday lights, decorating, updating our bulletin boards with the current season, and making sure our gardens are beautiful.
“Her positivity, smile and sweetness are contagious and we are blessed to have her as a volunteer,” Prigge said.
Linda has spent the past three years volunteering as a care companion—someone who provides a caring presence to our patients and families. She is always the first to respond when a need is identified at our Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter. Linda is also an active member on our Barrington Garden Committee, assisting with planting, holiday decorating and caring for the overall aesthetics of our outdoor space.
“Linda truly is a pillar of caring, her infectious smile, amazing attitude and boisterous laugh make her a pleasure to work with,” Clute said.
Another JourneyCare volunteer, Jim Moehling, received the Senior Hall of Fame Award from the Barrington Area Council on Aging in early May. This award recognizes those who have volunteered their time and made a significant contribution to enhancing the quality of life in the Barrington area.
Jim has volunteered with JourneyCare for over seven years and donated countless hours to our organization, primarily in patient care. He is always willing to help our patients, whether he’s delivering pet supplies, notarizing documents, providing soup and blankets, or granting special wishes. On one occasion, he drove more than 100 miles just to pick up and deliver a toy car from one pediatric patient’s house to another.
Jim has spent time with the same pediatric patient for several years and spent more than 90 hours with them last year alone. During their weekly visits, Jim and his young friend play games. He recently helped them load their RV with all the patient’s medical equipment so that they could make a special trip to Florida.
One of Jim’s greatest kindnesses, however, was granting a very special wish for a dying patient. The patient simply wanted to go on a “first date” before she died. Being a gentleman, Jim made her wish come true at our Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter. Jim brought her flowers and they enjoyed dinner and good conversation.
“For a few hours, Jim’s date was able to forget she was a patient,” Prigge said. “He gave her an incredible gift and made those very special moments count in her final days.”
Blessing Ibe and Tylar Canty-West
Two Kids Who Care volunteers from Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Blessing Ibe and Tylar Canty-West, earned awards this spring thanks to their work with JourneyCare.
Blessing received a Twenty Pearls Foundation Scholarship for her leadership, community involvement and service, and a Flossmoor Service League Scholarship for her participation in community service. A Kids Who Care volunteer throughout high school, Blessing consistently attended Get Creative events, where she made cards and gifts for our patients and community seniors, as well as monthly Game Nights, interacting with our senior friends and co-hosting intergenerational parties.
JourneyCare’s Kids Who Care Program Coordinator Sandra Schramm wrote letters of recommendation for both girls.
“Blessing immigrated to the United States from Nigeria when she was 8 years old and was a somewhat shy student when I first met her freshman year,” Schramm said. “Her remarkable growth in confidence, poise and her sincere love for the patients and seniors she served has been a wonderful process to watch!”
Blessing will attend University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign double majoring in statistics and molecular and cellular biology and plans to later attend medical school.
A Kids Who Care volunteer throughout high school, Tylar received also scholarships from the Flossmoor Service League, as well as the Homewood Rotary Club, for her dedication to service.
Tylar consistently shared her creative talents at Get Creative events and her positive attitude and love of the seniors at Game Nights, helping our patients and seniors know that this younger generation really cares.
“Tylar’s smile and outgoing personality lights up every room she enters,” Schramm said. “I was always so happy to have her be a part of any Kids Who Care event!”
Tylar will attend the University of Missouri in the fall and plans to study biomedical engineering and plans to continue her service work.
– By Elisabeth Mistretta, JourneyCare Content Specialist
Originally published in Together to Care, Issue 2, 2017