Saying Thank You and Goodbye

Pathways Cares for Our Own Volunteer

Thank you, Pathways, for all you have given me.” This was the last sentence of an article written a few months ago by a devoted Pathways volunteer named Judi Broyles. All too soon it was time for Pathways to thank Judi—and to say goodbye.

Judi, who was the 2012 Pathways Volunteer of the Year, spent untold hours at the bedside of patients, bringing comfort, her dog and happy moments to dozens of patients. Then just a few months ago she found herself occupying the bed, and volunteers and friends were attending to her. Judi had been referred to Pathways Hospice as a patient, and after five short weeks she passed away in July.

Over the years Judi had gotten to know many of the Pathways staff very well, so when the time came, she handpicked her care team. She wanted David to provide spiritual support and Missy to be her social worker, but when it came to volunteers, the tables turned. Not one, but four, of her colleagues asked to be assigned to Judi.

Her volunteer friends provided companionship and comfort, often performing non-invasive “energy work” that brought Judi much relief. It was the same Reiki technique she often performed for others. In fact, it is what led her to Pathways.

“I was taking a class in energy healing and the instructor said she was a volunteer for Pathways Hospice. I have no idea why I said, ‘That’s what I want to do with my training.’ Before I knew it …I was signed up for volunteer orientation!” she wrote in the article she contributed to Pathways’ planned giving newsletter, Legacies.

“I used to have a vision of what my retirement would be like. I would build dollhouses in the garage and volunteer some time at the Humane Society. Well, there is a saying, ‘Man makes plans and God laughs,’” Judi wrote.

In her volunteer career at Pathways Judi did it all: she volunteered at the bedside; she helped staff Pathways’ special events; and she spoke to new volunteers about all the possible opportunities to use their talents. “Judi worked for us for just over four years, but it seems so much longer because she did so much,” recalled Shaguna Wilkes, Director of Volunteer Services.

“Judi was the person that I could always count on to say ‘yes’—no matter how sticky the family dynamics. She always followed through on what she said she would do,” Shaguna recently recollected.