SCV Hospice annual meeting celebrates decades of community giving

January 29, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

This year the annual Giant Plant Sale and Casino Nite will be joined by a brand new event, the Santa Paula Chili Cook-off, all staged to benefit Santa Clara Valley Hospice-Home Support Group, which celebrated decades of giving at its annual meeting.

Held at the historic Glen Tavern with lunch served by the hotel’s own Enzo’s, former Board President Elias Valdes said the gathering is the time to reinforce the Hospice mission.

“The two best things about this organization are the people it helps and the people you work with,” said Valdes, who read a greeting from Board President Rachel Bustillos, who was unable to attend.

Bustillos thanked those that help support Hospice from volunteers and staff to board directors.

Former longtime Board President Cathy Barringer offered a brief history of the organization, which she and 10 others-led by Joyce Carlson-founded in 1980 with the help of Dr. Evan Slater and Kathy Zwers RN.

“We took training all over Ventura County,” and noted Barringer, “I can safely say it changed all or our lives...”

Zwers was “Our first everything,” executive director and nurse who worked out of office space offered by Barringer’s late husband Carl.

Zwers’ mother Kathryn Wilbur another Hospice founder attended the January 15 luncheon. 

Barringer noted that Hospice is “Completely dependent on fundraisers,” as its sole source of income and volunteers for its many of its services.

Sigrid Wong said Hospice services can serve dual purposes: “Flowers we take to shut-ins,” also provide the opportunity to access whether or not there are any needs unmet that can be reported to a case manager. 

“We can check on them,” said Wong, “without them feeling checked on...”

Board Director Victor Espinosa said Hospice has a small, albeit, “wonderful staff”  and volunteers that work both inside and outside the office.

His own first exposure to Hospice was when his mother was terminally ill and in a coma. 

The family was gathered at her house when his mother rallied and told Espinosa the reason she regained consciousness was to tell him to “Never shut the door on anyone...” which led to his devotion to helping others through Hospice.

Board Director Gary Nasalroad introduced Santa Paula Police Chief Steve McLean, the featured speaker. 

McLean said his own experience with Hospice was when his father was terminally ill: “He passed away at home, which brought peace of mind and comfort to my father,” and lessened his mother’s anxiety.

For the closing, Valdes again emphasized that Hospice is a volunteer organization, and “The reason this works is because we’s all free we don’t turn anyone down and we don’t turn anyone away.”

Fundraisers scheduled this year to support Hospice services include the annual Giant Plant Sale held with America in Bloom (April 12-13), the annual Western Casino Night (June 21) and the debut of the Santa Paula Chili Cook-Off (May 24).

Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group, Inc. provides physical, emotional, spiritual, and social support to persons with life-limiting illnesses. The client and the family are one unit of care, with trained volunteers placed to provide respite care and other services as appropriate. Bereavement and support services are also provided for the community at large, with special emphasis on support of the elderly. No fees are charged for Hospice services.

Hospice provides information and referral to services as well as assists with medical transport for doctor visits and medical therapies.

Hospice supports discussion of vital end-of-life issues and concerns with staff and volunteers that are trained and dedicated to add to the quality of life of clients and their families.

For more information call Hospice, 805-525-1333.

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