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.
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:
“My work is such a blessing and my paycheck is a bonus. I believe it has raised me above the fog of doubt and questions. It has given me a brighter, broader and deeper living experience personally and it has taught me to become more meek and Christlike. I have come to realize that every day is a gift that I can share with someone and bring a little sunshine into their room of darkness or at least help them pullback the drapes to see the sun and the beauty of life through different glasses.” Ellen Laan Chaplain Heartland Hospice
“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
CLICK ON A TAB BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE WINNER.
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.
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.
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.
Amy was nominated by the TEAM at Wings of Hope Hospice
As Fundraising Coordinator, Amy Chestnut’s dedication helps Wings of Hope accomplish its mission and contributes significantly to our overall patient care needs. From making floats to lip syncing, Amy will do just about anything to support Wings of Hope Hospice and the Wings Home. Our annual auction (our largest fundraising event) is phenomenal because of her organizational skills. It seems that everyone who lives in our area knows who Amy is and trusts her to pull off first-rate events. She is a calm diplomat in helping everything to run smoothly – even in a crisis. We often enjoy her sense of humor. Amy provides compassionate and professional in-house support. She covers our main phone frequently and is always a friendly voice on the other end. When greeting the public at our front desk, she graciously makes sure the need is met. She oversees our web site and Facebook page. She is a steady and resourceful worker, always ready to help in any way she can. The excellent work that Amy does arises from who she is. If there is one word that sums her up, it is “humble.” Her presence is unassuming, yet full of joy. Her humility leads to her ethics. She treats everyone with respect and assumes the best about everyone. She finds the positive in each situation. Her genuine care for people is seen in her non-judgmental listening ability. Yet she often has a wise insight to help with a problem. There is something special about Amy Chestnut that cannot be summarized in one word. Amy is a calming presence, a true friend, a person with a warm heart and smile. She is just the kind of person a hospice needs. She is part of the positive energy in the room. To know Amy is to love her. As team members at Wings of Hope, we wholeheartedly nominate Amy Chestnut for the Langeland Hospice Caregiver Award.
Pictured from left to right:
Greg Langeland, Vice President, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Amy Chestnut, Fundraising Coordinator, Wings of Hope Hospice
Thank you Amy for your commitment to those you serve!
Amy received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Barb was nominated by Scarlet O'Heran, Volunteer Coordinator - Heartland Hospice
Barb has been a volunteer with our organization for almost 16 years. Barb serves in the capacity of friendly visitor of hospice patients. She has an ability to meet patients where they are emotionally and physically. Her dedication, compassion, humility and service is an inspiration to our entire team here at Heartland. She was quoted to say "If I can share one special moment with a person in a song, a story, a laugh, or a smile, to help bring an atmosphere of dignity to a dying patient, then I have been blessed." Barb has walked with over 150 patients to the end of their life, with beauty, grace and love she continues to make a difference in those last days.
Pictured from left to right: Greg Langeland, Vice Presisdent, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Barb Gillespie, Volunteer, Heartland Hospice; Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Barb for your commitment to those you serve!
Barb received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Katie was nominated by Cheryl Hawkes on behalf of the Poortenga Family
Katie was the first nurse we met when our Mom arrived at Rose Arbor. She was very gentle and loving with Mom and knew exactly how to help her. She had a sweet, caring, and a welcoming nature that was a blessing to our family during this difficult time. It was comforting that she was also the nurse with Mom when she passed. It takes a special, loving, caring person to work at a hospice facility and we are thankful for Katie and the blessings she brought to our family.
Pictured from left to right: Lisa Langeland Allen, Treasurer, Langeland Family funeral Homes; Katie Bonita, Registered Nurse, Rose Arbor - Hospice Care of Southwest MI; Shelby Herendeen, Langeland Family Certified Funeral Apprentice.
Thank you Katie for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our May 2019 Caregiver Award recipient Katie Bonita.
Katie received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Karen was nominated by Bonnie Langeland.
Karen went above and beyond caring for my aunt –
She was so helpful. Couldn’t have gotten thru some nights without her help.
Pictured from left to right: Lisa Langeland Allan, Treasurer of Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Karen Wilcox, LPN, Great Lakes Caring Hospice; and Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Karen for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our April Caregiver Award recipient Karen Wilcox.
Karen received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Donna was nominated by Jack and Rosemary Nicewander.
Mrs. Coots made the enrollment very smooth, knows her job very well, and is a very Caring and Kind Hearted Person.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langelands Family Funeral Homes; Donna Coots, RN, Wings of Hope Hospice; Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Donna for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our March Caregiver Award recipient Donna Coots.
Donna received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Wendy was nominated by Susan Henderson
Wendy, from SouthernCare Hospice was our mom’s Hospice nurse during her last 4-5 months of life. We appreciated Wendy’s availability, her patience with us when answering all our many questions and listening to our concerns. We also appreciated her willingness to look for solutions that fit not only our mom’s conditions but our desires for her comfort and care as well. She spoke with our mom and our family in a very direct but caring way, allowing us whatever time we needed to process or explain our thoughts and feelings as well as process our grief. Wendy arrived in my mom’s life at a time when her care was not going well - her medications were not being handled professionally or appropriately, and the Hospice team stepped in and skillfully took over that part of her care as part of their service. As a result, our mom’s medications were faithfully provided and monitored, and were often changed as mom’s physical decline warranted it. Wendy followed through regularly with the facility’s staff, training and explaining as she interacted with them, to ensure that our mom was receiving the best possible care. Shortly after my mom’s passing, Wendy came, and while only two family members were present at that time, she waited over an hour until my husband and I arrived before calling the funeral home to come and pick up our mom’s body. We greatly appreciated her giving us this extra time in her schedule – it allowed me the time to not only grieve my mom’s passing before her body was removed but allowed me the time to talk with Wendy as well – to achieve closure. I was the family member who was present for most of the Hospice visits, meaning I had a lot of interaction with Wendy, and her caring and compassion for me became very important to me. She is a gem. While our family is very grateful for all the folks at SouthernCare Hospice we are most grateful for Wendy sharing her life and her skills with us through a very difficult time. She poured into our family and showed a love for us and for my mom far above what many medical professionals share. She was a huge blessing to us and we thank her for loving my mom while caring for her, and for loving and caring for the rest of our family as well. Thank you, Wendy, and To God Be the Glory.
Pictured from Left to Right:
Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Wendy Miller, Registered Nurse, SouthernCare Hospice; Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Wendy for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our February Caregiver Award recipient Wendy Miller.
Wendy received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Kelli was nominated two separate families by Tarina Macklem and also by Cindy Johannes.
Kelli was our Mom’s hospice support. She spent extra time and extra care with Peggy. Her loving attitude made a very difficult time for us and Mom easier. She communicated every step of the way. Kelli would ask advice as well as listen to all Peggy’s idea. Anyone who has Kelli for care at a most difficult time is lucky to have her. That is why Kelli deserves every good thing that may happen to her.
- Tarina Macklem
Kelli cared for dad for 5 months. She is a very caring and giving person. She treated dad with great respect and that made him feel very special as he was on his final journey. Kelli saw dad 5 days a week for all his personal care and to feed him daily breakfast. She not only was there for dad but also for us his daughters. She prepared us for everything we should expect and taught us how to respond for every issue that dad should have. She was there also after work hours to check on dad and always made sure we knew how to contact her at home with any questions that might arise. She is very dedicated to her work but mostly to her clients. As this was our first experience with death, she certainly made things easier with her love and compassion. We would certainly request Kelli again if the need arose and suggest she be nominated for this award as she is very deserving of so much more. She was our angel in what has to be the most difficult time in ones life. Thank you Kelli, we love you very much!!!
- Cindy Johannes
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Kelli Owens, Clinical Nurse Assistant, Great Lakes Caring Hospice; Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Kelli for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our January 2019 Caregiver Award recipient Kelli Owens.
Kelli received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Hilary was nominated by Donna Campbell.
Compassion, explanations, care, help, peace...These are all words that describes what I see when our Grace Hospice LMSW Hilary Smith is involved with her patient and their family or caregivers. Our Mission is for each employee to treat every patient as their own treasured loved one, providing care that affords a quality of life that outweighs quantity of days and supports caregivers as their hearts find healing. Hilary lives by this Mission, whether it be helping a patient get a scooter, having a 'last swim' for a patient in her lake that was brought inside, or just an ear to listen. Her compassion and understanding makes her a true advocate for the patients and families that we are privileged to serve in this most precious of times.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Hilary Smith, Social Worker, Grace Hospice; Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Congratulations to our December Caregiver Award recipient HilarySmith.
Hilary received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Lindsey was nominated by Bonnie Langeland.
Lindsey was nurse in charge of my Aunt – She went above and beyond to help us. Because of Lindsey and her group I was able to keep my Aunt at home (as I promised her) until she passed. Could not have done that without Great Lake, Lindsey and the other girls.
So Grateful –
Tod Langeland, Secretary and General Manager of Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Bonnie Langeland; Lindsey McCoy, Registered Nurse, Great Lakes Caring Hospice; & Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Lindsey for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our November 2018 Caregiver Award recipient Lindsey McCoy.
Lindsey received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Sherline was nominated twice – once by Tom Zemrowski and again by The Dunfield Family.
All the staff at Rose Arbor are wonderful, caring people who truly do their very best for hospice residents and their families.
Sherline stands out among them to me as the most memorable. She was so kind and loving to my wife Carol. Sherline bathed her even stopped by after March 31 to visit each day. (On April 1st the staff rotated for the next 6 months to the east end of Rose Arbor).
Sherline is the best!
- Tom Turman
Sherline is SO kind and compassionate. She took fantastic care of my Dad when he was at Rose Arbor. She was wonderful!! She helped out our family and friends too. She always had a smile on her face. She’s ONE IN A MILLION! Right on :)
- The Dunfield Family
Pictured from left to right: Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Sherline Turman, Hospice Aide, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan – Rose Arbor; and Shelby Baas, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Congratulations to our October 2018 Caregiver Award recipient Sherline Turman.
Sherline received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.
Ellen was nominated by Jackie Kline and Heartland Hospice Staff.
I would like to nominate Heartland Hospice chaplain, Ellen Laan, for the Langeland Hospice Caregiver Award. From the moment you meet Ellen you know there’s something special about her. She is one of the most caring, giving and loving individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. She goes about above and beyond to care for our patients, their families and her co-workers. From hand-written cards, to candy, cakes, lunch, chickens, etc…she cares for people! Here are some examples of Ellen’s generous spirit…
“We are so blessed that God allowed her to be with us. She goes at night, during the day and if she knows someone needs her gift of “presence” she will be there. She’ll bring frogs (“stuffed”), teddy bears, whatever would ease someone’s pain or fears. If she can bring a smile to anyone she will! I have been so blessed to watch her in action. She also supports the nursing staff by prayers and remembering who we are, not what we didn’t do. We are so very lucky to have her.” Pam Simpson-Taylor, RN
“Ellen is great!! She is a source of comfort and support not only to our patients and families, but to employees of Heartland Hospice. The care that we provide can be trying at times or we have things we are going through in our personal lives. It all matters to her, and she will stop in the moment and pray with us!” Brooke Randall, RN
“I too feel that Ellen should receive the award. Yesterday was a trying day. Ellen came in to see my Aunt and minister to all who were there. She shared favorite scripture and songs with my relatives. I feel they were so touched to know my Aunt’s choices. What a singing voice when she sang my Aunt’s favorite song! I could see how touched my Aunt from Missouri was at the ministry.” Dawn Klinkers, Team Coordinator
“I do her timesheets and she constantly puts in 12 to 16 hour days and also a lot of times works on the weekends. I have also seen several times that she was called out in the middle of the night at 2:00am and went and assisted with care even when it wasn’t her patient.” Julie Thomson, Team Coordinator
“I have seen firsthand the impact that Ellen Laan has on not only our patients and their families, but even on Costco employees! During a recent trip to pick up supplies with Ellen I was witness to employees’ firsthand knowledge of Ellen. The interaction was amazing. Ellen knew each one’s name and their family dynamics. Each employee treated her as close friend and each was amazed that she was not picking up rotisserie chickens for her patients on that day. Ellen has a way of making each person that she runs into, her fellow employees, or patients, feel loved and cared for. She is never too busy to listen and pray over you. She lives to love others.” Scarlet O’Heran, Volunteer Coordinator.
From left to right: Tyler Langeland, Licensed Director Langeland Family Funeral Homes; Ellen Laan, Chaplain; Heartland Hospice & Dana Naumann, Bereavement Care Coordinator, Langeland Family Funeral Homes.
Thank you Ellen for your commitment to those you serve!
Congratulations to our September 2018 Caregiver Award recipient Ellen Laan.
Ellen received The Crystal Heart Award and a gift card to be used for whatever she would like.