Hospice of the Northwest volunteer Virginia Smiley is no stranger to serving her community. She has been a member of the Rotary Club for 20 years, a volunteer for Soroptimist International of Anacortes helping to run their thrift store, and a volunteer for Hospice of the Northwest for about 10 years.
“I experienced hospice care up close when my mother was on service in 2002,” Virginia said. “It was at that time that I knew I would volunteer when I retired.”
As a long-time volunteer, Virginia has helped Hospice of the Northwest staff and patients in a variety of ways: clerical, phone trees, tuck-in service, bereavement support, at fundraisers, and, most recently, with Clinical Communications.
Virginia said her career and life experiences prepared her to be a volunteer, from transcribing doctors orders to comforting patients and their loved ones. She brings a breadth of experience and compassion to those she comes in contact with. Ultimately, however, Virginia became a volunteer to give the gift of time.
“I wanted to be the kind of individual that I saw take care of my mother,” Virginia said. “Someone with compassion and the gift of one’s TIME.”
As with all volunteers, Virginia said she’s gained some things, too. Not least of which is the importance of giving people choices at the end of their lives.
“I’ve learned that you can ‘have it your way’ when it
comes to end-of-life,” she said. “There are many protocols, guidelines and best practices, but giving someone the gift of choices is one of the sweetest of all.”