Pine Tree Hospice celebrates 38th anniversary
GUILFORD — Pine Tree Hospice’s 38th anniversary celebration took place on Nov. 9 at the Craft Café in Guilford. There was a large crowd for the festivities including staff Kristen Wortman, executive director; Sherri Jackins, office coordinator; Pam Pultz, marketing coordinator; Cheryl Crabtree, client and family services coordinator; and Laurie Muzzy, volunteer coordinator.
Other attendees were nearly 20 volunteers that serve as direct care volunteers, members of the board, office volunteers, and volunteers that serve on committees; board members of the Plummer Foundation; and Maria Wooten and Shelley Blockler from Maine Highlands Federal Credit Union. Greenville’s Purpleville was represented as well.
The guest speaker was Jaeme Duggan, director of Piscataquis County Emergency Management Agency. Dugan talked about Pine Tree Hospice’s tireless service to the isolated elderly and frail in our communities. She reiterated that without Pine Tree Hospice, so many people would not have transportation or groceries, and would be isolated without help for sometimes weeks at a time.
Janet Sawyer, president of the board of directors began the celebration with Pine Tree Hospice’s mission statement, “Pine Tree Hospice provides free non-medical support, education, and resources to those with life-limiting conditions, caregivers, and grieving individuals through a trained volunteer network.”
She reminded us all of the importance of community partnerships in our community. These partnerships benefit not just our organization, but the community as a whole.
Wortman shared these words at the opening, “How can you impart what it means to give someone hope, to relieve a family’s stress, to gift someone quality of life, to tell them yes we can help — no strings attached, no waiting list, no 5-page application?
We get to do incredible work in an area of such need. We serve individuals that have not left their own home in months due to lack of transportation, we serve caregivers that can’t plan a minute in advance let alone fill out a MAXIMUS application, we serve heartbroken people that have experienced the greatest loss of their life and are isolated because no one knows what to say.
We are doing this in a time of significant challenges faced by those we serve. In 15 years of working with older adults I have never seen such a lack of resources, length of waiting lists for services, or exhaustion throughout systems.
I am proud of the work we do because it is human and simple. We meet people where they are at, honor that, and walk alongside them.
In our direct care program, we served 136 percent more clients than two years ago. In-home volunteers logged 1,860.5 hours equals 5.1 per day, 1,255 contacts with clients equals 3.4 per day.
Outreach is a critical piece of our current strategic plan – in order to serve we must always tell people what we do, who we serve, and how we can benefit them. Efforts this past year to increase outreach realized an increase of 136 percent more clients than just two years ago.”
Pine Tree Hospice offers help to people and families without putting them on long waiting lists, without barriers, and we do it with trained volunteers who only want to help the people who so desperately need it. This is all done for free, with no payments from Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance.
Each year pins are awarded to volunteers and 2023 honorees are Sue Burgess and Alice Bunn, five years; Dr. Deb Drew, 15 years; Priscilla Higgins and Dodie Curtis, 25 years.
Pine Tree Hospice volunteers love doing what they do, and the longevity in their service is a testament to the work they do — clients and are both benefited by their relationship with Pine Tree Hospice.
The Commitment to Mission Award went to Sherry Corbin. Corbin has been a volunteer for 19 years, and as a direct care volunteer, an indirect volunteer, a committee and board member, and she designed, built and maintained the Pine Tree Hospice website for years. She truly personifies commitment to the mission. Corbin has donated 2,900 hours of her time and talent over those 19 years!
It wouldn’t be a celebration without a cake, and there was cake!