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Rick Jett

My road to Hospice of East Texas in the beginning was not the typical volunteer path. Many volunteers come to Hospice because of witnessing first-hand the wonderful care given to a family member or friend and they want to help. There was no “volunteering” on my part 40 years ago. I was a young accountant working at Henry & Peters CPA Firm. My direct boss was Bobby Henry who was close friends with several of the ladies involved with the Junior League who were instrumental in forming Hospice of East Texas. In this formation process they called Bobby to see if Henry & Peters could provide accounting services for the new entity. Their funds were limited, and they needed these services donated. Bobby called me into his office and said to go over to the Junior League office and meet with them, set up a set of books, set up whatever accounting systems they needed, and then help them until they could get established. I had no idea what the word “hospice” even meant! But I did what I was told and kept their books and records and helped them get an accounting system in place. I also learned what they did. I became a believer in the mission. I was amazed at how the community reacted to this little organization. Hospital systems that could not agree with each other on anything, worked together to help Hospice of East Texas. Doctor groups that were in competition with each other worked together to help insure Hospice thrived. The entire community wanted Hospice of East Texas to succeed.

By the time the organization grew and was able to hire personnel to maintain its own accounting records, I was hooked and Hospice of East Texas became part of my life.

Accounting, finance and the business side of the organization are the areas that I have worked in the most over the last 40 years, but what matters to me the most is the care Hospice of East Texas gives families. I have a friend whose spouse was facing a terminal illness. This friend did not want his spouse to suffer at the end and was very anxious about how things would develop. He needed assurance, assurance that his wife would be comfortable, that she would not be in pain, that she would not suffer and would be taken care of with dignity and with privacy. He called Marji Ream, the Hospice President and CEO, executive director and received that assurance.

That is what we all want for our families, for our friends and for ourselves. As a volunteer, I want to work to make sure Hospice of East Texas has the very best people, the best medicine, the best equipment and the best facilities so that when that call comes in, Hospice can confidently say (as it has for the last 40 years) YES, you can be assured your loved one will be taken care of just as my friend was told.

The apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Colossian Church “to clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”. That is exactly what Hospice of East Texas does each and every day. And that is why I want to volunteer as long as the organization will have me.