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Archive | July, 2016

Failure, Phys Ed and Faith – Finding Life Lessons with R.C. West

When Richard C. West earned five failing grades and one “A” his sophomore year in high school, his life was changed forever. His only “A” was in Physical Education. A coach took him under his wing and Richard became, in his own words, “a different person.” With renewed focus on academics, his grades improved and upon graduation he was accepted into college. His academic career would not be completed until he reached the age of 88.

West attended Springfield College in Massachusetts. An only child, Richard said his biggest adjustment was learning to live with a roommate. He played baseball and football for the college’s Pride football team. His second football season was interrupted and another major adjustment was on the horizon. Following the sixth game, Richard and his teammates received notices to report for military duty. World War Two was calling.

Richard was assigned to the Infantry Medical Corp and shipped out to France, and then Germany, where he spent two years. He then served a two-year stint in England and was about to be shipped to the Asian theatre when the atomic bomb ended the war.

Richard returned to college and earned a tryout with the St. Louis Browns baseball team, and was faced with a dilemma. The minor league team offered to take him on to become a coach/manager – but he would have to sacrifice his college degree. Richard opted to finish his degree.

After serving with the athletic department at Otterbein College for eight years, Richard took on a new challenge, moving to Kettering, Ohio for a teaching and coaching position. “It was one of the most frightening experiences I’ve ever had,” he recalls. “I was assigned to teach American and World history. I had no background in either, so I spent the whole summer studying the subjects.” Richard would teach physical education and become a guidance counselor, “the greatest experience I ever had,” he says. It was also the link that led to the love of his lifetime.

Near the end of the school year, a knock came to his guidance office door. In walked a “beautiful lady in a summer dress, with a wide brimmed hat,” Richard recalls. “ She wanted to confer with the counselor about the enrollment of her son. In less than two years, Richard would marry Nancy. And when Richard retired from counseling after twenty years of counseling, the couple launched a new counseling service together. “The church needed pre-marital counselors, so my wife and I took on that challenge.”

Richard and his wife actually did retire and move to Florida for a time. They found themselves returning to Ohio regularly to watch grandchildren play spots, so they decided to return to Ohio. When he was diagnosed with abdominal lymphoma, Richard experienced an epiphany that sent him back to pursue a degree in theology. He earned his doctorate of divinity at the age of 88.

As Richard reviews his life, he says his opportunity to be a counselor was his “gift from God.” He shares his faith these days and urges Christians to live as children of God. Everyday, he observes, we have the opportunity to choose to do what is right. God, in his wisdom, choose wisely when he touched Richard’s life and invited him to counsel others.



Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Helps a Mother Say “Thank You”

SharonAndDeputies_07052016 (48)_SmallTwo years ago, 32-year old Antwan Hurston celebrated a warm summer day on July 5 with friends at the Stillwater Parks Apartment pool. He nearly lost his life that day. This year, his mother wanted to make a point of thanking those who saved him on the anniversary of the accident that almost took his life.Sharon Hart is grateful for the heroic work of Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies who jumped into the pool to rescue her son. They were able to pull Antwan from the bottom of the pool and perform CPR until the Harrison Twp. Fire Department arrived and took over. Antwan was rushed to Miami Valley Hospital in critical condition. He survived but has remained incapacitated and is now in the care of Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. His mother is grateful for every one of the days she has been able to have her son with her this past year. To let the officers involved know how appreciative she is, she invited them to her home so she could present them with certificates of appreciation.

It was the first time Sharon got to meet Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputies Brian Shiverdecker and Kyle Baranyi.  “I cannot express to you how much my son means to me and how much I appreciate the efforts each of you took on that day,” Hart told the officers. “I hope this little bit of truly heartfelt recognition will demonstrate the effect that your heroic actions had for us… My family, as well as this community, are privileged to have your hard work and dedication looking out for us every day on your job.”

The two officers admitted that it’s rare to know what happens after they respond to a call.

The deputies said it’s rare to know what happens after they respond to a call. They said they were just doing their job.

“We just gave mom what she wanted,” said Deputy Shiverdecker. “And that’s her kid home.”

Sharon has provided care for her son in her home for the past year with home health, and now hospice, support. She says she is grateful every day for the heroes who saved her son’s life.”I just thank God every day, you know, that I wake up and he wakes up. And, as long as he’s here I”m happy,” said Hart.

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Pictured, left to right, are Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Social Worker Joshua Meeker, Deputy Brian Shiverdecker, Sharon Hart and Deputy Kyle Baranyi.



Scrub Donations Will Circle the World

“There are so many stories attached to these scrubs,” says Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton RN Dena Wenzler as she packs the clean, stacked scrub tops, pants, and jackets into boxes. “You can almost feel the impact the hospice care providers who wore them had. Over the years, our staff members have touched countless lives as they wore these scrubs, offering calming words or heartfelt hugs to both patients and family members.”

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Pictured are Kathy Siskaninetz of Human Resources, volunteers Jane LeGasse and Chris Steel, and RN Dena Wenzler

Now even more lives will be touched.

When the organization adopted new scrubs, Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton staff members donated hundreds of used scrubs to a global charity. The donated scrubs will be delivered to clinicians serving in third world countries, disaster zones and pockets of poverty or need in our own country.

Dena spearheaded the effort to collect and donate the scrubs. It’s part of her on-going mission to see that medical supplies, equipment and materials find their way into the hands of others that can make meaningful use of them. “It just breaks my heart to see people throw things away because they don’t know what to do with them,” says Dena.

Dena began collecting supplies like dressings, adult diapers, wheelchairs, walkers, bedside commodes, tube feeding formula and similar medical supplies about a decade ago. Once her garage was filled, she would load up a pick-up truck and deliver the items to a charity for distribution to those in need. These days, that involves taking the donations to Matthew 25 Ministries in Blue Ash, a suburb north of Cincinnati. “I’m just one person,” Dena says. “This scrub donation project involves the entire organization and is an example of what we can do together. We can help so many people with items that otherwise just go in the trash.”

Dena is joining with Dr. Wendy Schmitz, who leads the hospice mission outreach effort to Ecuador, to involve the entire organization in stewardship designed to expand the impact that one organization can have on the planet. “Our goal is to involve the whole organization by the end of this year,” Dena explains. “There are so many things we cannot restock due to regulations. But we can donate so much of it to people who desperately need medical supplies, equipment and support.”

Dena invites those interested in becoming involved in the effort to contact her for more information. “I would love to involve the home care teams,” she says. “Once a loved one has passed, people have no idea what to do with the supplies left behind. In many cases, the grieving family members want the medical supplies removed from the home quickly.  We, as an organization, could help them by collecting and donating those unused supplies. In the process we would also help so many others.”Scrubs_LinkPhoto


“The Missing Man” is Honored at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton

Carole’s Cafe at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton has added a tribute to Veterans in the dining area. “The Missing Man” table honors fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service-members. The table is set for one and includes symbolic items to remind us all of the sacrifice of our Veterans. The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of intentions of whose responding to the country’s call to arms. A single red rose signifies the blood shed in sacrifice to ensure the country’s freedom. The yellow ribbon on the vase reminds us of the missing and unaccounted for of every war. The slice of lemon is a reminder of the bitter fate of the missing, and the salt on the bread plate symbolic of the tears shed by loved ones over those lost. The empty chair and inverted glass represent the fact that this soldier cannot join with us in breaking bread or celebration. This man is The Missing Man.

This tribute is one of several Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton shares with the community in celebrating the contributions of Veterans. The American Pride Veteran Memorial is an outdoor display that honors Veterans and invites the community to submit the names and stories of local veterans to be included among the honored. With the American Pride program, Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton tailors care to Veterans, assuring they receive all the benefits to which they are entitled and addressing special needs and concerns of Veterans at end-of-life.



Honoring the Outstanding Members of the Hospice Staff

Every quarter we honor outstanding staff members for their contributions to our mission. Each of our disciplines is recognized as part of our Bouquet of Recognition. Here are our most recent recipients:


BouquetOfRec3SUNFLOWER AWARD – Diane Kovacs

Diane was nominated by family members who expressed appreciation to Diane for softly and attentively speaking to her patient and for comforting the family when the patient passed.  A staff member also nominated Diane, praising the compassion and respect shown a patient with special needs.  “You were patient and kind, never irritated or degrading…..Thank you for making our team great!”







DAISY AWARD – Stacey Bohannon

Stacey was nominated by family members for her attentive and compassionate care. “Stacey stayed with us during those final hours offering comfort above and beyond to us and her patient. She knew exactly what to say to help my grandma and our family through this terrible time…thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us to comfortably say goodbye.” Thank you, Stacey, for bringing your heart to our hospice mission.






BouquetOfRecCARNATION AWARD – Donna Molton

“Donna is not just a Patient Services Coordinator, she is the heart and soul of the triage department in the evenings,” her Carnation nomination reads. “She is loved by all and is a very important member of the team and a asset of incomparable importance to this team.” Donna was honored for serving as a valuable resource to other staff and for her ability to diffuse difficult situations with a calm and reassuring manner. “She is an excellent teacher and mentor…She is always respectful and professional… She is more than deserving of this award.” We join in thanking Donna for her service and contribution to our mission.





BouquetOfRec4TULIP AWARD – Angelene Volpatti

Occupational Therapist Angelene Volpatti was presented with the Tulip Award today in gratitude for the powerful impact she has had on people’s lives. Her contribution to quality of life for multiple patients was cited in the nomination.  A 54-year old with a terminal diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer struggled greatly with mobility…she experienced excruciating pain in her arm, and as a result, she only moved when absolutely necessary.  Angeline provided the patient with a sling and a lift chair, enabling the patient to comfortably transfer and maintain some independence.  Both the patient and her husband expressed gratitude for Angelene’s help, “For the first time in many, many months, I can stand up and move without having that excruciating pain. I cannot tell you the impact it has had on me.” Thank you, Angelene, for everything that you do for our patients, families, caregivers, facilities and staff! You are much appreciated.


Vietnam Veterans Miami Valley Chapter 97 Names Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton Organization of the Year

VVA Award with KentOhio’s Hospice of Dayton was recently honored as the 2016 Organization of the Year by the Vietnam Veterans of America – Miami Valley Chapter 97. The Veterans organization presented the award to Kent Anderson, President/CEO of the not-for-profit hospice, expressing appre
ciation for the services and support Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton provides to Veterans in the community.

Among the first in the country to achieve national recognition from the We Honor Veterans program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton established American Pride as a platform to address the unique needs of Veterans facing life limiting illnesses. American Pride honors Veterans and ensures access to all the benefits to which a Veteran is eligible. The program also provides spiritual support and addresses individual post-traumatic stress issues. Through participation in Honor Flight Dayton, Veteran pinning ceremonies and special observances and celebrations, American Pride celebrates the lives and recognizes the contributions of veterans.

Miami Valley Veterans are also memorialized and celebrated at the American Pride Veteran Memorial located on the campus of Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton at 324 Wilmington Avenue. Photos and stories about local Veterans and their service are featured on a kiosk that is part of the Veteran’s Memorial  “We are committed to caring for and honoring veterans as part of our mission and our American Pride program,” explains President/CEO Kent Anderson. “We want to include the entire community in this effort by encouraging them to pay tribute and thank Veterans for their service and sacrifice.” Community members can commemorate the service of Veterans from the Miami Valley By visiting All stories submitted are accessible online and on display at the American Pride Veteran Memorial. The stories are searchable by name. Any Veteran from the Miami Valley region is eligible to be included.

“Our American Pride Veteran Memorial is dedicated to the Veterans we serve through Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, but also to every Veteran from our community,” says Anderson. “Honoring their service is in keeping with our mission and our commitment to this community.”

In honoring Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton as the 2016 Organization of the Year, the Vietnam Veterans of America – Miami Valley Chapter 97, expressed appreciation to Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton for their commitment to Veterans. The VVA Miami Valley Chapter is a non-profit service organization. For more information on VietNam Veterans of America- Miami Valley Chapter 97, call 937- 233- 9750 or visit .