Local resident Patrick (Pat) McGahey was presented with a significant honour this month when he received the June Callwood Award for his volunteer services to the Beth Donovan Hospice. “We are thrilled to announce that Pat is our 2022 Volunteer of the Year. It is an honour to recognize him for his commitment to hospice and his 26 years of service with BDH,” reads a piece in the BDH newsletter.
The award was established in 1994 and is named for the late June Callwood, a community activist and long-time advocate of hospice who also had the distinction of being named to the Order of Canada. The award is meant to thank outstanding hospice volunteers, and is not only available for locals – it is a Province-wide award, making it extra special for it to be awarded locally.
Speaking of Pat, the BDH newsletter reads, “Pat is a dedicated and loyal volunteer who is always ready to help. He has demonstrated his willingness to do good by assisting in many different roles at Hospice. Whether he is promoting Hospice services, taking care of property maintenance, providing bereavement support, or driving clients, he does so with an integrity, constancy and natural kindness that is appreciated by all. Pat’s quiet willingness to help wherever possible and his devoted volunteer career at BDH is truly admirable.”
Pat’s volunteer activities with the Hospice are highly varied. He visits people who are at a sad point in their lives, and who may need company due to being stuck at home, and he provides respite services for family members who care for sick relatives in their homes. “It can be an hour a week, it can be two hours a week,” Pat said. “Basically you’re letting the full time home caregiver have a bit of a break.” Caregivers use this time to do things such as visit old friends and get groceries. There is also a day hospice program where patients spend several hours doing crafts, having lunch, and socializing, and Pat is happy to drive patients to and from this program as part of his volunteer duties. When asked why he feels volunteers do what they do, Pat gave a positive answer. “They see the results of their efforts, with the smiles on people’s faces who maybe don’t have a lot of reason to smile. You see a smile, you hear a bit of a chuckle, you’ve said something, you’ve started a conversation, you can see it livens them up a bit and they get some enjoyment out of it, you say ‘well that was a worthwhile thing to do!’”
Anyone interested in helping to put smiles on faces by becoming a volunteer with the Beth Donovan Hospice can get in touch by email at [email protected]