PTH recognizes its volunteers’ numerous works of heart

By Stuart Hedstrom 
Staff Writer

    SANGERVILLE — Over the last three decades Pine Tree Hospice (PTH) has offered its services free of charge to individuals and families during the time of dying and bereavement. Instrumental to carrying out the organization’s many programs are PTH’s volunteers, who give with “Pine Tree Hospice … A Work of Heart” as stated on the cover of the 2014 annual report and were celebrated during the annual meeting Nov. 13 at the East Sangerville Grange.

A wooden heart ornament given as a keepsake
at the 2014 Pine Tree Hospice annual meeting

    “This is a special time and we like to celebrate all that has been done in the past year,” Executive Director Jane Stitham said at the start of the evening, mentioning the numerous volunteers, staff members and others have all given the gift of heartfelt compassion and caring. “We have the privilege of seeing that on a daily basis and I suspect you have the opportunity to see the people around you doing the same things.”
    Stitham asked the dozens filling the Grange to think about acts of kindness, either done by themselves or that they have seen performed by another, that have really touched the heart. She encouraged those in attendance to write these acts down on sticky notes set up on all the tables, and then to place these notes on a pair of framed hearts created by Foxcroft Academy students.
    The night’s first recognition was for Dale Shaw, who is stepping down as president of the PTH board of directors. Stitham said as the involvement of the board is very important and Shaw “was there and he was supportive and he was available,” adding the night before the annual meeting she called and the two talked for over half an hour.
    “The other thing is he’s knowledgeable and he shares that knowledge,” Stitham said, about Shaw’s numerous contributions over the years.
    The election of officers and directors for 2014-15 consisted of Kathleen Thibault as president, Matt Raynes as vice president, Donna Peterson to another term as secretary and Rhonda Taylor being reelected as treasurer. Sue McNulty and Jon Pratt were both elected as new members to the board of directors.
    Coordinator of Volunteers and Client Services Betsy Miller Minott spoke on repetition and continuing to be available even during difficult times. “To keep showing up, time and time again, is what makes this possible,” she said.
    “At these meetings we do recognize volunteers who have reached a certain number of service years,” Minott said. Those reaching milestones are Mary Tondreau, Joe Ranagan and Beth Ranagan, five years each; Sherry Corbin, 10 years; Jane Conroy, 15 years; and Yolande Graham, 20 years.
    “Because this year we are doing works of heart, we decided to pick three volunteers,” Minott said, saying selecting just a trio for special recognition was a very difficult task and if she could she would give awards to all those who give of their time to the organization. Honored at the annual meeting for this distinction were Jack Harper, Rita Mountain and Marie Weatherbee.
    Stitham recognized outgoing board of directors members Shannon Bishop and Mark Chevalier. “They both were amazing resources and really benefited Pine Tree Hospice in their own special ways with their own special talents,” she said.
    PTH is able “to work with so many great programs that are out there,” Stitham said, in recognizing Rev. Chad Poland and the Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church. She said the church has provided space for PTH programs, while Rev. Poland has taken part in several trainings in order to learn more of the organization’s work.
    “We really so appreciate all the church does,” Stitham said, in presenting Rev. Poland with a donation for the church’s program that provides heating oil to those in need.
    Stitham also recognized staff members Minott, administrative assistant Sherri Jackins and program assistant Yvonne Davis. “What’s really amazing is they have such dedication,” Stitham said as the staff serve not just clients but family members of those receiving services from PTH.
    “These three people totally surround them with their caring, their warmth, their strength and their support,” Stitham said.
    Minott concluded the annual meeting by discussing the theme “Pine Tree Hospice … A Work of Heart.” She said a family friend coped with the death of his wife in his own way. “His way of grieving is he is an instrumental griever, he grieves by doing,” she said.
    Despite being 89, he carved dozens of small wooden hearts to be given as attendees left the PTH annual meeting. Minott said these were the keepsakes for 2014 “because hospice is indeed a work of heart.”
    For more information on PTH and its numerous services and many volunteer possibilities, please contact 564-4346 or or go to, or

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