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2019 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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Langeland Family Funeral Homes hosted the Fourth Annual Hospice Caregiver Award Banquet on October 9, 2019. The twelve-monthly award winners were invited to an evening of gratitude for their service and to select the Langeland Hospice Caregiver for 2019. Wendy Miller an RN with SouthernCare Hospice was selected as the Langeland 2019 Hospice Caregiver of the Year. She attended the banquet with her husband, Matt and two friends and co-workers from SouthernCare, Jenny Henley and Julie Gimbel. Wendy lives in Portage with her husband and three children. She was very honored to receive the award and expressed how this award shows validation for the work of hospice and a connection with our community. Wendy sees it as a special way to pass the love along. 

This is what Wendy shares about her work in hospice:

“When I tell people what my job is, I am often greeted with sad faces and words of “oh how sad” or “your job must be so hard”. But I do not find my job to be hard. It is sad from time to time, this is true. But mostly, especially after I have spent many hours with families, and my patients have passed peacefully and comfortably surrounded by loved ones; I find an overwhelming sense of calming reward and inner peace by helping these families find understanding and acceptance of their loved ones passing.”

Langeland Family Funeral Homes expresses their sincere thanks for Wendy and all the Hospice Caregivers for the service they provide to those who going through these most difficult times of their lives as a patient and as a family member.  

Following are quotes from other monthly Hospice Caregiver award winners who attended the banquet:

“I cherish life, every second, because of my Hospice experiences. I consciously try to live in the moment. I value the wisdom and knowledge of the elderly.” Hilary Smith, Social Worker, Grace Hospice

“Working at hospice has impacted me by showing me the understanding of families and no family is perfect and to be kind and understanding.” Kelli Owens, Clinical Nurse Assistant, Great Lakes Caring Hospice

“I feel grateful when leaving a home after a visit, knowing that, with God’s help, I have been able to meet a physical, emotional or spiritual need that is a concern that day, leading to increased comfort for the patient and/or the caregiver. It is important to me that they feel as if they were the most important visit of my day!” Donna Coots, Registered Nurse, Wings of Hope Hospice

“I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to work for such a wonderful company with so many fantastic team members. I think my journey begins there. Everything else falls into place. Everyday is special and all of our patients are special. My favorite story, I love what I do.” Karen Wilcox, Licensed Practical Nurse, Great Lakes Caring Hospice

“Being nominated for this award feels pretty special. I say this mostly because while I do remember the patient and family who nominated me, I do not remember doing anything above or beyond what my fellow coworkers and I do every single day. It is humbling to think about what a huge impact we can leave on others on what feels like just an ordinary shift.” Katie Bonita, Registered Nurse Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan – Rose Arbor

“If I can share one special moment with a person in a song, a story; a laugh; a smile; a dance; holding hands or sitting in silence to help bring an atmosphere of dignity to dying, then I have been blessed. Barbara Gillespie, volunteer, Heartland Hospice

“I loved their mission and wanted to play any part possible to help carry it out. I am impacted every day by the people I work with. People that work in hospice care have an incredible amount of compassion in them and makes coming to work a joy.” Amy Chestnut, Fundraising Coordinator, Wings of Hope Hospice

I often see people at their worst times when they have lost all hope. I have met so many families that were scared and afraid to care for their loved ones. As rapport is built with families and the patients, I see them get more comfortable. Patients become comfortable and it brings about a new sense of peace.” Karen Tennant, Registered Nurse, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan

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Karen was nominated by Mark Berkey and Ginny Walls.

For the past 6+ months Karen has been caring for my mother, Donna Berkey. On the third visit, my mom thought of her not only as her nurse but a close friend. Karen improved my mom’s life and her compassion was a large part of that. I was always impressed by her professionalism and her knowledge of what mom needed and when she needed it. I could not have asked for better care than what Karen provided.

Mark Berkey

Karen is one special lady..She recently lost her husband and her daughter and has taken her daughters son under her loving wings to raise him on her own..Even in her grief she is able to give special care to to others in need..She  gave my dear friend Betty Hochmuth special care for a very long time.. Betty and her family truly appreciated her very much...Betty was recently placed into Rose Arbor and Karen was so kind as to visit with her several times..The care that goes into doing this type of work takes a very special person and they deserve to be recognized and thanked for their sacrifices..Thanks to Langelands one of these special care givers are awarded for their service once every month..Many thanks to all the care givers as well as to Langelands for recognizing them.

Ginny Walls

Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Karen Tennant, RN, Hospice Care of Southwest MI; Greg Langeland, Vice President, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.

Thank you Karen for your commitment to those you serve!

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

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