“Who made the weather gods angry?” I remember talking to Kevin Schoedinger the morning of our ceremony. We were all slowly trying to make our way to the Worthington chapel in a Level 1 Snow Emergency and talking about our concerns of whether people would actually brave the elements to attend the event. It was certainly a pleasant surprise to see so many at this, the first annual Hospice Caregiver Award Ceremony.
With coats hung, people made their way to the ceremony room. Many were greeting friends they had known from previous employment. Others were making new friends. All were there in support of each other – the hospice community.
Kevin started the day with a warm welcome and explanation of why Schoedinger began this program. Andrew Hoover, celebrant with Schoedinger, gave a wonderful presentation on what it means to be a hospice caregiver (much of which was based on his own personal experiences with hospice for his mother-in-law and his mother). Julie Olds announced the monthly winners of the program for the months of March through October.
March Charla Sedziol, Hospice of Central Ohio, nominated by Cathy Duncan
April Gary Wasmer, Berger Hospice, nominated by Lisa Merrill
May Becky Gallentine, Gentiva Hospice, nominated by Susan Manecke
June Brandi Maxie, Tridia Hospice, nominated by Dawn Thomas
July Ginny Bernard, Hospice Services at Methodist Eldercare, nominated by Jill Waterman
August Mary Miller, Loving Care Hospice, nominated by Betty and Elton Yutzy
September Joanna Lieb, St. Joseph’s Hospice, nominated by Jeremy Bormann
October Derek Werner, Vitas Hospice, nominated by Mary Anne Durst
Then it was time for the big announcement: the Hospice Caregiver of the Year scholarship winner. The winner of the scholarship for 2014 is Charla Sedziol, social worker with Hospice of Central Ohio. Kevin reiterated that we received so many wonderful nominations it was not easy to select a winner – he described some of the reasons Charla was selected from the nomination we received for her. Then Charla and her Executive Director, Kerry Hamilton, went to the front of the room to have their picture taken holding the 4-foot check. Charla also received a certificate of scholarship and lovely fall flower arrangement.
Following the big announcement, Randy Schoedinger presented the Outstanding Caregiving Partner Award. He talked about initiatives that were being taken by the Funeral Service Foundation to build better relationships with hospice and other partner organizations. This initiative exemplifies the work that the Outstanding Caregiving Partner was already doing.
The winner of the Outstanding Caregiving Partner is Doug Cluxton, Director of Bereavement Services at OhioHealth Hospice. Doug received a lovely plaque and Randy relayed to the audience all the wonderful ways that Doug continues to build collaborative relationships with key partners in the community.
At this point in the program, attendees were invited to enjoy refreshments and networking before heading back out into the cold and snow. It was certainly a joy to see so many wonderful people at the award ceremony, and we are looking forward to seeing many more next year. We were not sure how the program would go this first year, if we would be able to impress on hospice staff and volunteers how important they are to the families we serve. But after having received so many amazing nominations, and seeing the support hospice staff and volunteers have for their teams and their communities, we were delighted to be able to bring something as special as the Hospice Caregiver Award program to the hospices of Central Ohio.
Some of the comments we received:
“We really appreciate all you are doing for Hospice.”
“It was easy. Some of the other recognition programs are a bit cumbersome, but this program is easy.”
“That was such a nice presentation. We will be sure to make more nominations this coming year.”
“I don’t know of any other funeral home that does what you guys do for the community. Keep up the great work.”
“You guys are pioneers in your industry. It is why we enjoy working with you so much.”
The Hospice Caregiver Award program continues and nominations are being accepted for the coming year, which begins this December. For more information about the program, or to download the application/brochure, visit our website at http://www.schoedinger.com/about-us/community-events
Julie is the Director of Community Relations at Schoedinger Funeral Service.