MARTINSBURG – Hospice Volunteer of the Year John Sherwood nearly missed getting recognized for the award on Thursday.
That’s because he was doing what he was being recognized for – providing excellent, exemplary volunteer service for Hospice of the Panhandle.
Sherwood, a volunteer for the nonprofit agency for the past three years, visits with patients and families who are experiencing life-limiting illnesses. On Thursday evening, after receiving word that a veteran patient had died in Hospice’s inpatient facility, Sherwood, who lives in Charles Town, stopped at the facility on the way to the volunteer dinner in Martinsburg. Sherwood helps conduct “honor services,” for the veterans, which includes a flag presentation, and escorting veterans from the building.
“The services are moving, and very much appreciated by family members,” said Hospice volunteer coordinator Tricia Lawrence.
In addition to conducting the services, Sherwood often gets to listen to veteran patients share their stories, an experience Sherwood calls humbling.
“I come away from so many visits just being awed by what they have told me. I get so much more than I give,” said Sherwood, who served in Vietnam. “What they (the veterans) saw, what they did – it is just amazing.”
A member of St. James the Greater Church in Charles Town, Sherwood also gives communion to homebound Hospice patients. He also visits with nursing home patients. One of the stories shared about Sherwood on Thursday recounted a recent visit he made with a nursing home patient, whose final request was to enjoy a Slurpee. Sherwood spoon-fed the iced treat to the patient, who died several hours later.
“This volunteer knows and understand what it means to serve, having served in many roles both in the community and in his church,” Lawrence said. “There is no doubt that he is deserving. It is never a surprise for (John) to take a last-minute assignment. He has rearranged many things to make himself available to help Hospice patients and families.”
Hospice nearly had to rearrange Sherwood’s award receipt Thursday evening.
In addition to presenting Sherwood with his award, Hospice recognized volunteers who celebrated anniversary years of service. Three volunteers, including two Hospice Board members, were recognized for 25 years of service: Board president G.T. Schramm and Barbara Pichot, and Rose Marie Bires. Four others were recognized for 20 years of service: Barbara Bailey, Sylvia Catron, Irene Hedrick and Nancy Marmorella.
For more information, contact development director Maria Lorensen at 304-264-0406, ext. 1225, or firstname.lastname@example.org