Interior Health volunteers were treated to a delicious meatball luncheon at the Oliver Community Centre on Monday.
It’s the health authority’s way of saying thank-you to dozens of generous community members who donate their time to improve the quality of life for others.
This year’s theme was “Laughter is the best medicine.”
Dignitaries included Mayors Martin Johansen and Sue McKortoff, who both shared pleasantries about volunteering.
Carl Meadows from Interior Health brought lots of energy, singing and dancing along with the live music of Mat Duffus – who was playing favourite hits from the olden days.
Extra-special guests included Trudy Demorest and Kaye Marie Yuckin, who were among the founding members of the local hospice support group over 30 years ago.
Another hospice volunteer at the luncheon was 76-year-old Evelyn Partridge (pictured on top). Despite being in a wheelchair, she stays active as a volunteer by consoling the sick as they’re about to cross over to the other side.
“I enjoy sitting with people and talking to them, and if they are able to talk back I listen to them,” she said.
“But I’m mostly there to reassure them that there’s somebody with them. They’re not alone. That’s the big part.”
Partridge says hospice services helps put people more at peace when they pass.
One one occasion, she spent five days sitting with a woman, along with the woman’s son.
“And we both knew the minute she passed away. It was sad to see her go because she used to be one of my roommates. But she was at peace.”
Although hospice volunteers deal with the heaviness of sorrow and grief, there are countless other options for volunteering – and Partridge encourages everybody to do some form of it.
“They would get a feeling like I do that it’s rewarding. You’re actually helping somebody else. It is a peaceful feeling to your life.”