The Heart of a Volunteer: Bettye Zowarka

It was 1985, I was the Executive Director of Hospice of North Central Florida, a tiny hospice program in Gainesville, FL. when I was approached by a woman who lived in a small rural town to offer our hospice services there. Bettye Zowarka was very active in her community and volunteered for many groups. She simply did what was needed to be done, regardless of what city/state or federal agency did or did not offer in her area where three counties merged to create one small town.

Bettye was determined to have hospice offered to the residents of Keystone Heights and Melrose, Florida. I was determined to put her off until she lost interest. I did not want to expand our small hospice into a new rural area that was far from our office with little opportunity for growth. I was persistent in my tardiness in getting back to Bettye…she was more persistent in calling me to begin care.

“Just come out and give us a volunteer training, then we will at least know how to care for our...

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Let's Celebrate Volunteers!

Image Above: Hospice of the Western Reserve's volunteer Walk to Remember 2017

It’s National Volunteer Week; and time to celebrate! This past week, I was in Cleveland working with the Hospice of the Western Reserve.  They held two banquets celebrating their 3,000 remarkable volunteers.  The speaker was local Clevelander, Alex Sheen, founder of “Because I Said I Would” movement for the “…betterment of humanity through promises made and kept”.  HWR realizes their volunteers play an enormous role in the success of their organization and offer volunteer opportunities in many, many areas of their organization.

What are our volunteer’s worth? According to a recent report by the nonprofit coalition, Independent Sector, more than 63 million Americans volunteered about 8 billion hours, which would equate to about $193 billion based on that hourly value. In Hospice, we literally could not do what we do without their willing and...

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