Ten years ago, Gerry Gaines was simply looking for a way to knit more. She loved knitting and so, to her, the opportunity to use that joy for others was an easy decision. She started volunteering with VNA doing just that – knitting shawls and lap blankets for patients. She also spent some time in the office and in other capacities.
A little over a year ago, however, Gerry’s role as a volunteer transitioned and she began visiting with a hospice patient. “It was then that I realized how lucky I was,” she said.
She developed a close relationship with her patient and found they had much in common; both women were in their eighties during their time together. “We grew up in the same era,” Gerry remembers. “We both liked the big band sound and some other things that were going on at the time.” Very soon their relationship grew into a friendship.
For a year and a half, Gerry visited with her friend, and they grew quite fond of each other. But, in little time, the friend past. Gerry was saddened by her friend’s passing, but she had peace knowing that her friend was ready. “She told me more than once she was ready to go,” Gerry said. “I feel like she got what she wanted.”
We are thankful for volunteers like Gerry who not only use their gifts to serve, but take the time to discover new passions and develop new relationships for the sake of our patients. They prove that no matter who you are – how old you are, what you like to do, what you see as your skillset – you can be a blessing to someone. And, moreover, they can be a blessing to you.
Whenever asked about volunteering at VNA, she says, “Go for it… This was my way for giving back for what I had.”