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2018 Award Recipients

The work of a hospice caregiver often transcends any description of kindness, service and ministry. It takes a very special kind of compassion and dedication. A very special person.

Each month Langeland Family Funeral Homes selects an individual as a recipient of the Hospice Caregiver Award from your nominations. The person chosen as the monthly award winner receives a gift card to be used for whatever they desire. Their name is also engraved on a leaf on the Hospice Caregiver tree at the Westside location. Yearly, Langeland Family Funeral Homes holds a reception to honor the past year's award recipients. During the reception, one of these special people will be selected as “Caregiver of the Year”. The Caregiver of the Year recipient will receive a gift certificate for a very special evening and a night away.

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On October 3, Langeland Family Funeral Homes hosted their 3rd annual Langeland Hospice Caregivers Awards Banquet. This banquet is to honor the monthly Hospice Caregiver Award winners that were presented over the past year. Roxanne James a Hospice Aide for Hospice Care of Southwest MI – Rose Arbor, was selected as the Langeland Hospice Caregiver for 2018. Unfortunately Roxanne was not able to attend the banquet but she sent two of her co-workers from Hospice Care of Southwest MI – Rose Arbor in her place. Attending in Roxanne’s stead were Heidi Hotchkiss who works at Rose Arbor and Pam Hart a volunteer at Rose Arbor. They were both excited for Roxanne and felt that the award was very well deserved.

Dana Naumann, the Bereavement Care Coordinator, reached Roxanne by phone after the banquet to speak with her about the 2018 Hospice Caregiver Award. Roxanne said she appreciates the award very much and is also very humbled by it. She insisted that there are many others who are more deserving of this honor. She went on to talk about the amazing team that she works with at Rose Arbor. “No one talks about each other; we take care of each other and work so well together.” This includes both the paid employees and the volunteers who are such a valuable resource for Rose Arbor. Roxanne expressed her passion about her hospice work. “Working at hospice is not a job, it is a calling.”

Initially Roxanne was not sure she wanted to work in hospice, but a good friend of hers who is a nurse and knows her well told her, “It is everything you want to do.” So she applied at Rose Arbor and said from the moment she walked in the door she knew she belonged and that she would work there until her retirement. That was 15 years ago.

Roxanne also knows personally what it is like to take care of a loved one who is dying. Her mother lived with her for four years before her death and spent six months at Rose Arbor. She remembers how difficult it was physically and emotionally, but she also remembers the sweet and funny times they had together when they could not stop laughing over an unexpected event. After her mother’s death last year she said, “Now I truly get it; when family members say, ‘I can’t get my breath, I feel like I am dying.’” She sees this now as another facet to how she can be there for others.

When Roxanne was asked to describe what she does to unwind from her hospice work she described her home. She lives on 40 acres in Lawton and loves to spend time outside in nature. She also does a little bit of animal rescue on the side. She has a rescued horse and donkey and recently acquired a calf in trade for a tractor. Roxanne is always focused on how she can assist those around her. Roxanne is also a mother to four and a grandmother to six. She says her family is very close and the grandchildren love coming and spending time on the property.

Roxanne was nominated by one of the families of a patient she cared for. She is so thankful that she is able to help these families in their time of need. She is also very thankful for what these families have taught her over the years. She said, “I learned to have a more positive attitude. I learned to have more patience. I learned to be a much better listener, and I learned to be more compassionate.” They have all left an imprint on her life.

It is Langeland Family Funeral Homes pleasure to bring special recognition to our area’s hospice caregivers. These individuals give of themselves every day and play such a significant role in families’ lives. It is our desire to give an opportunity for people to share how much an individual has touched theirs and others’ lives with their caring.

In October 2019 the Hospice Caregiver of 2019 will be announced at a special reception honoring all the award recipients of the past year. The Caregiver of the Year will receive a gift certificate for dinner and overnight accommodations.

Do you know a special Caregiver? Nominate them today! 


Julia was nominated by Lynda Smith.

Julia was so caring with my brother, I really think they bonded instantly. Jim was non verbal but understood everything you said to him, and he really liked Julia. We had Julia for a year or more and she was here as he started his journey. Anything I asked her was okay with her and she gave me so many great tips. As time went on his eating decreased and his skin was breaking down it really upset me, all I had to do was call her and she made all the time to come over and address the problem. Julia was so gentle with him and she got him to smile, I really Loved that. You need to be a special person to be a Hospice nurse and she is. The last two weeks were very hard on me and Julia came everyday, and I was really thankful for that. She never said he was leaving us I just knew. When Jim passed I called her and she came right away and took care of everything. After they came and took Jim away she didn’t leave right away, she made sure I was okay. I will never forget Julia and what she did for my family, she really is a special person.

Lynda Smith

Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Julie Ortiz, RN, Case Manager, Grace Hospice; & Tod Langeland, General Manager, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.

Thank you Julia for your commitment to those you serve!     

Congratulations to our August Caregiver Award recipient Julia Ortiz.

Julia received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.     

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