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Hospice of Santa Barbara Honors Its ‘Heroes of Hospice’ at Awards Luncheon

DASH receives the Partnership Award, Dana VanderMey the Legacy Award, and Joe Jowell, Muriel Ross and Ann Smithcors the Volunteer Awards

Hospice of Santa Barbara Heroes of Hospice Volunteer Award honorees, from left, Muriel Ross, Ann Smithcors and Joe Jowell; Legacy Award recipient Dana VanderMey, center, and Partnership Award honoree DASH (Doctors Assisting Seniors at Home) represented by Jeanne West, Carolynn Allen and Liz Orr at the 2016 awards luncheon on Wednesday at The Fess Parker. Click to view larger
Hospice of Santa Barbara Heroes of Hospice Volunteer Award honorees, from left, Muriel Ross, Ann Smithcors and Joe Jowell; Legacy Award recipient Dana VanderMey, center, and Partnership Award honoree DASH (Doctors Assisting Seniors at Home) represented by Jeanne West, Carolynn Allen and Liz Orr at the 2016 awards luncheon on Wednesday at The Fess Parker. (Hospice of Santa Barbara photo)

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Hospice of Santa Barbara presented its 2016 Heroes of Hospice Awards at a festive afternoon luncheon at The Fess Parker. Nearly 250 supporters were on hand to recognize award recipients in three categories: Partnership, Legacy and Volunteer.

“The Heroes of Hospice luncheon recognizes the incredible people who have demonstrated compassionate dedication to the service of HSB’s clients," board president Eric Bowers said. "These volunteers play a vital role in our mission to provide care for anyone experiencing the impact of life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.”

A fall theme graced the event and featured several orange-colored accents, including beautiful orange floral centerpieces at each table. Catherine Remak emceed the noontime program, which included a new video about hospice services for youth.

Following the luncheon, the 2016 Heroes of Hospice awardees were presented:

» Partnership Award: DASH (Doctors Assisting Seniors at Home). It offers on-call, rapid-response medical care throughout Santa Barbara and Goleta. DASH has cut the number of costly emergency room visits and hospitalizations for its nearly 2,000 clients by more than 30 percent.

DASH’s team of nurses and physicians is available Monday through Saturday to respond to the homes of seniors from Santa Barbara to Goleta, usually arriving within hours. These seniors are often too ill to wait for an office visit or appointment or too weak to get there. DASH team members also will communicate closely with a client’s primary care providers. DASH is offered for a modest monthly fee, or free for seniors living in low-income housing or receiving Medi-Cal or Section 8 housing assistance, putting it within reach of the most vulnerable residents. For more information, call 805.617.0049.

» Legacy Award: Dana VanderMey. During her 17 years at Hospice of Santa Barbara, VanderMey co-created the now instrumental Patient Care Services department from scratch, trained more than 400 volunteers, and cared for patients and families experiencing terminal illness. Her father, Malcolm Peattie, Hospice of Santa Barbara board president in the early 1980s, introduced her to the organization and told her about an open position. As Hospice of Santa Barbara’s RN case manager, VanderMey supported terminally ill patients and their families, learning about the important role that families play in a patient’s support system.

Hospice of Santa Barbara board members Cynthia Stoddard and Mike McGrew.
Hospice of Santa Barbara board members Cynthia Stoddard and Mike McGrew. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

VanderMey worked at Hospice of Santa Barbara until 1989 and returned in 2001 as director of volunteers. Today, the Patient Care Services program has multiple divisions and is key to delivering clients with the care they need. She retired in 2013 and is currently working on her life book, No, But Thanks for Asking.

» Volunteer Awards: Joe Jowell, Muriel Ross and Ann Smithcors.

Jowell began volunteering at Hospice of Santa Barbara in 1981. Having experienced the death of his wife in 1974, he felt a strong connection with clients and learned many things about pain, loss and acceptance. He sees Hospice of Santa Barbara as a way to open the door for the taboo subject of death and grieving, as well as encouraging terminally ill people to seek assistance and not shy away from others because of their condition.

Ross has volunteered at Hospice of Santa Barbara for 37 years.

“I can’t imagine anything else I’d rather do,” she said, adding that she truly enjoys caring for her patients by taking them to run errands and have fun.

Originally from Canada, Ross studied registered nursing and later attended graduate school, where she earned a post-graduate degree in psychiatry. As a nurse, she worked at a hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, for most of her career. Moving with her husband to Santa Barbara in 1964, Ross has spent time volunteering in home care as well as at Serenity House.

Smithcors is committed to caring for others. The daughter of a nurse, she helped her grandfather, a doctor, treat patients while growing up in England. She went on to become a nurse and midwife and continued her nursing career after moving to the United States in 1960.

After retiring in the early 1980s, Smithcors volunteered at Hospice of Santa Barbara, which allowed her to spend time with patients and their families. She has been volunteering for 34 years, doing anything with clients from caroling around the holidays, preparing tea or simply sitting with them to hold hands.

Hospice of Santa Barbara offers compassionate, professional counseling, support groups and care management free of charge for those experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one. It provides a wide range of bereavement services, wherever and whenever they’re needed, to patients, children, families and Spanish speakers.

Click here for more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara's programs and community education efforts, or call 805.563.8820 or email [email protected].

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. This article includes reportinf Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Hospice of Santa Barbara board president Eric Bowers, left, Clinical Services Director Gabriela Dodson and CEO David Selberg at the 2016 Heroes of Hospice awards luncheon. Click to view larger
Hospice of Santa Barbara board president Eric Bowers, left, Clinical Services Director Gabriela Dodson and CEO David Selberg at the 2016 Heroes of Hospice awards luncheon. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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