Jerry Gump always has stories to share. Sharing is what comes naturally to Jerry. That’s why he became a volunteer for hospice in 2005.
He was just a few years into his retirement after a thirty year career as a Housing Inspector for the City of Middletown when doctors diagnosed his wife of 35 years with small cell lung cancer and gave her three months to live. Jerry says “we knew it was incurable but we fought the good fight. She lived 22 months after diagnosis.” Becoming a hospice volunteer was an easy decision for Jerry. “It was a chance for me to give back,” Jerry says. “Hospice did so much for us. We appreciated the nurses and home health aides that cared for my wife. Hospice helped give her more time and helped us keep her at home.”
Jerry has taken on all kinds of assignments for hospice, but his most frequent role is that of a visitor, sharing stories with patients, helping take them to the grocery, to the doctor or for treatments. He was visiting a patient one Sunday afternoon when the “dry hurricane” hit. As the winds whipped up, Jerry tried to get onto the patio to move furniture so it wouldn’t be damaged, but was unable to open the door because of the air pressure. The glass topped patio table was smashed. When he returned home he found a huge limb from the neighbor’s tree in his driveway. “It fell exactly where my van would have been parked if I’d been home,” Jerry says. “I took it as a sign that I was where I needed to be.”
All of the patients and families whose lives Jerry has touched would agree. As a hospice volunteer, he is exactly where he needs to be.