Meet Charlotte Levy! Charlotte has been volunteering in our Nacogdoches thrift store since 2014. Most days Charlotte can be spotted at her post working the register and greeting customers. She brings her warm personality and humor to the job.
Approaching a holiday you can bet she will be dressed accordingly, topped with a fun headpiece or hat. Of her work at the shop Charlotte states…“Had heard of HOET and had been volunteering at the hospital, felt like it was a real job. Decided to try something new. Loves getting to meet the customers. Good way to get out of the house, give back to the community, enjoyable. Fun volunteer job!”
Meet David Johnson, a 91-year-old volunteer who hails from Ohio where he attended Ohio State and played the trumpet in the all men Ohio State Buckeyes Marching Band. He moved to Texas in 1979 and has his own insurance company. David has served 8 years at HOET welcoming families, guests, and staff at our HomePlace front desk. He is a people person and has never met a stranger. He has a unique way of making conversation with people and helping them feel comfortable as he shows them to a room. David also purchased numerous bird feeders to place around our campus and keeps them filled with birdseed so that our patients can enjoy watching birds just outside their window.
David had a personal experience with HOET in 2012 when his precious wife, Linda, came on our service and we took care of her in their home. She came to HomePlace later where she passed away. After a year or so David decided he would like to serve as a volunteer at the Hospice of East Texas and give back. One thing he especially enjoys is the relationship he has created with our staff. “Mr. David” knows most of the staff by name and they look forward to Wednesday afternoons when he serves to visit and see what crazy socks he is wearing for the day. He brings joy each time he serves, and we appreciate his dedication to encourage others.
Meet Matthew Cali, a 22-year-old HOET Volunteer and recent graduate of UT Tyler! Matthew began volunteering in May of 2019 as a direct volunteer, taking time to visit and talk with hospice patients. With plans to start Med School in August, Matthew says the initial draw to volunteering at HOET was the opportunity for patient interaction and learning how to empathize with patients.
Matthew believes his experience volunteering has taught him the value of time, and especially time spent with those patients who don’t have much time left. “I’ve learned the sacredness of relationships,” he said. “In no other field are you working so closely with death, while also welcoming it with a sort of positivity. Of course, it is sad; but we comfort people as they go through that process.”
Though Matthew is not sure yet what area of medicine he will practice, he hopes to very hands-on and focus on interacting with patients as much as possible. When asked what his advice would be for other young people who may be interested in volunteering, he said, “There’s so much about hospice you don’t know. As a young person, it’s really rewarding to be able to connect with people in their later years. This experience has given more importance to my daily life and makes me value my days. You can gain a lot of wisdom and joy from connecting with those at the end of their life.