Volunteers are amazing! If you look around you will see people helping others every day. As the title ‘volunteer’ implies, these good folks are going out of their way to help someone else with no expectation of remuneration or reward. They work from the goodness of their hearts.

I have observed those who quietly go about their supportive ways and find joy in the service. From simple, single acts of kindness to community-wide collaborative efforts, those who can be found helping, supporting, and contributing definitely have special hearts.

In 1996, I watched the entire community of Palouse, Washington rally around their well house. The river, in reaching high flood stage, threatened the purity of their water supply. Hundreds turned out to fill and place sandbags. Others rushed to move contents of homes and businesses to higher ground. Families were evacuated with caring hands and hearts. Yet others provided food and drink for those working in the thick of things. No one person worked for their own recognition. They worked as a team to accomplish a shared goal.

Friends of Hospice has been operating in Whitman County for more than 22 years. This organization was begun by volunteers with a dream. As we have grown and expanded to serve in various ways, we have also been blessed with a solid foundation of volunteers that support and promote our vision and mission.

The Music & Memory program has been carried by volunteers from its inception. These loving individuals contribute their time and energy to build and maintain music libraries and develop and store personalized playlists on iPods. Then they deliver, set up, and educate on how to use the equipment. This is a labor of love. Love for music, love for the people the music is touching, love for helping another through this life.

Advance Care Planning began in October 2014, with more than 50 people showing up to be trained as facilitators. Volunteer facilitators. This program assists people in having the conversation about end-of-life wishes. This is a difficult conversation for most people, so having trained facilitators to support and guide one through is a gift. The resultant document can bring peace of mind that one’s wishes will be known and more likely followed.

When a loved one is at the threshold of living and dying, remarkable volunteers are available to minister with calming, peaceful music. The Threshold Choir of the Palouse provides this service in unassuming, quiet ways and blesses the lives of those who are dying, and their families. These voices transcend everyday music and surrounds those in transition with comfort and care. All volunteer.

These are but a few of the long list of selfless people who show up to move our dream forward. As in other walks of life, the contribution of volunteers is incalculable. We appreciate and value our dedicated cadre of volunteers. We thank you.

“For there is nothing in the world stronger than the heart of a volunteer.” James Doolittle