Volunteer Hero - People's Choice

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Julie Conway Julie Conway

Julie Conway

Position: Volunteer

Organization: Sea Crest Hospice


List your nominee's experience in Senior Care.

Julie was already a volunteer with Sea Crest Hospice, when I arrived as the new Volunteer Coordinator in September, 2017. Julie was recently recognized at the Spirit of Volunteerism awards.

Describe how your Nominee has exceeded his or her Job Description, becoming a hero to you or others. Provide an example or as much detail as possible of the things that they do that go above and beyond their job description.

I am honored to nominate Sea Crest Hospice Volunteer, Julie Conway, for the Volunteer Hero – People’s Choice Award.

Julie’s Motto: Love is An Action. Her Life’s Purpose: To Make a Difference.

Every day Julie demonstrates both!

Patients call her, "My Angel," "A ray of sunshine," and "My best friend."

Julie came to Sea Crest Hospice as a volunteer after her dad was a patient with us. She experienced the blessing of hospice and wanted to help others through End of Life.

Now she sits with and listens to patients, reads, prays, plays music, puts lotion on their hands and gives them hand massages, too. She brushes hair, holds hands, makes sure they are comfortable, gets caregivers or staff when a patient is in pain or has a need. She once helped a patient get an electric hospital bed to decrease future wounds. She even contacts family members when a loved one says something special they might like to know.

One family says, "Julie’s friendship means so much to my dad! Her kindness and thoughtfulness means a lot to us all!"

Exceptionally compassionate hearted, Julie tries to help the whole person and not just read to them or hold their hand and leave. She helps them feel loved, not forgotten; valued, listened too, and to feel at peace. She tries to bring them joy and laughter.

She looks forward to weekly visits to up to 9 patients to make connections and establish relationships. If a patient is unable to communicate verbally, she hopes they will at least feel that there is someone who cares about them and that they aren’t alone.

She confided that she would have been heartbroken if someone had just walked by her dad and had not tried to help him. She told me she once sat with a non-Sea Crest spouse and her husband who had just entered a memory care unit just to let them know they weren’t alone.

“I’ve walked the journey they are on and I always want to be there for anyone who needs that kind of support,” she says.

Comments from our staff:

“Julie doesn't just put in her few hours per week; she gives of her heart and time as if each patient is her own dad. Her visits are individualized to each patient's needs and she tries to make every interaction meaningful,” explains Jennifer, Sea Crest Hospice RN.

“For instance,” shares Melissa, Sea Crest Hospice RN, “When Julie found out that one of her patients had wanted to go to the OC fair but her family was unable to take her, Julie got permission and coordinated the trip. They stayed 9 hours doing everything the patient wanted to do.”

Julie told me that the patient smiled all day watching families making memories, riding on rides, playing games for prizes and admiring art and crafts.

“What an unforgettable time, watching the fair through her eyes!” says Julie.

“This experience was priceless for the patient,” RN Melissa adds, “It brought her indescribable joy.

This is just one of many examples of how Julie touches the lives of patients.

Words cannot describe what a special volunteer she is!”

“Julie has such a servant’s heart,” RN Melissa says. “She loves people even when not volunteering. While visiting her dad in his facility, she made it a point to form relationships with non-Sea Crest residents and family members. She actually became their advocate when families were unable to visit loved ones. They felt comforted knowing Julie was keeping an eye out in their absence.”

“Julie listens, shares and supports the families,” Lynne Huffman, Sea Crest Hospice RN says. “She is noted for her kind words and obvious desire to help those in need during this final journey.

She works well with the entire hospice team by communicating changes and needs which she sees. She has stayed with patients and families until a nurse arrives. Her calm, strong demeanor, gives the family a sense of control of the situation.

Julie is an asset to our hospice team. We hope to continue working with her for many more years!”

“She is thoughtful, empathetic, dependable and enthusiastic,” adds Sea Crest Hospice Bereavement Counselor, Nora, MSW.

Julie, herself, shares, “All my patients always leave me the gift of a little of themselves in my heart.”

She also participates in Sea Crest Hospice’s We Honor Veterans© ceremonies, documenting with photos.

I honestly don’t know what I would do without her! She helped me in the Volunteer Department, when I first arrived at Sea Crest. She often drops by to express her concerns or just to chat about visiting her patients.

Her dream is to win the lottery, so she can hospice volunteer full time!

She is certainly ‘heroic in service, care, character and,’ as just shared, she is clearly ‘a positive influence on others.’

If anyone is a Volunteer Hero, Julie Conway certainly is!