Even angels need help sometimes.
In this particular instance, they will be looking to a lighthouse for that assistance, with hopes that it will guide generous souls in their direction.
For the first time ever, the Community Health Professionals (CHP) of Williams County will host a dinner and charity auction in order to raise funds for its Hospice Program, acquired by the CHP in May of 2013. Representing the lives of those who’ve come under hospice care and the hope the service brings to their families, the Beacon of Hope lighthouse was chosen as the symbol for the organization’s fund raiser.
Speaking at the event will be three separate families, who’ve had loved ones go through hospice care in the last year, appropriately known as the Hospice Ambassadors for 2014. Those loved ones left behind by Derald Steinke, Gail Gordon, and Dt. Thomas Olnhausen will speak at the Beacon of Hope Dinner, each with their own unique take on their hospice experience.
As they had seen hospice at work through family and friends, Mary Steinke and Ann Kidston were familiar with the program when it came time to enroll their father, Derald Steinke. With a call to, and, later, a visit from Krista, a hospice nurse with whom they were familiar, the family made the decision to allow Derald to start receiving care.
And they were glad they did.
“Hospice has been a blessing for us,” the family expressed in an open letter, “and we are so thankful for the care and comfort they provide.”
“Their angel,” as Steinke and Kidston refer to Krista, even made a special trip to be with the family at Derald’s passing. Even after his death, she continued to help those loved ones left behind fill their needs.
“And Hospice has has continued to be a source of care comfort for us to this day.”
Gail Gordon had but a single request upon receiving his diagnosis of stage four esophageal cancer.
“Please don’t put me in the hospital or nursing home.”
This was a difficult wish to honor, but Gordon’s family did just that, thanks to the CHP Hospice. In the those trying times that were the later stages of his life, when he was “still kickin’, just not very high,” Hospice was there. And not just for him, either.
“It became clear that CHP was not only there to care for Gail,” Dave Gordon, family to Gail, realized, “but also to help the rest of the family through this difficult time.”
Gail left this world on May 15 of this year, but he made several friends at the CHP before doing so, according to Dave.
The family of Dr. Thomas Olnhausen is in a unique position when compared to the other two families serving as Hospice Ambassadors. Dr. Olnhausen’s children now have a mother who is under Hospice care for gallstones that are not able to be removed due to their close proximity to major blood vessels. For Kim Peeble, it was a surprise that Hospice would take on a case that didn’t involve cancer.
“I didn’t realize Hospice cared for patients who don’t have cancer.”
It was Pancreatic Cancer that claimed Peebles’ father on May 11 of this year. Prior to his diagnosis, Olnhausen had only been sick once in his entire life according to Peebles, so the family was stunned by the news.
On one of several trips to the Bryan Hospital, after receiving the news that his body had started to reject blood transfusions, Olnhausen and family met with Mary Ellen, a Hospice Nurse with the CHP. She informed them of the benefits of Hospice care, and Olnhausen decided to sign up for the program.
For two months Olnhausen was under Hospice care, even partnering up with an Arizona branch so he could see his cousin, Sandy Olnhausen, with whom he was quite close.
Spending his last seven and a half days at the In Patient Hospice in Defiance, Olnhausen died with all four of his children by his side.
Struggling with the loss of her father, while attempting to take care of her mother, Peebles, a fifth grade teacher at Bryan Local Schools, was overwhelmed at the monumental task. It was words from her late father that guided her back to Hospice.
“And I heard his voice telling me to call Mary Ellen.” Peebles recalled.
This was his advice shortly before he passed, but Peebles declined, believing Hospice to be only for cancer victims. She made the call this time, however.
Mary Ellen returned that call well after her regular hours, determined to find out what was wrong. The result of that call was Peebles’ mother being enrolled in the program, allowing the teacher to continue her work until her retirement at the end of this school year.
Why would Mary Ellen go above and beyond her work duties for Peebles?
“When they lose a patient, it’s like they lose a family member.” Becky Kimble, Volunteer and Event Coordinator for the CHP, proclaimed.
Peebles simply refers to the Hospice Nurses as “Our Angels here on Earth.”
On hand to emcee the event will be Mix 98.1 FM radio personality Rick Small. Showtime DJ Jamie Shaffer will provide music for the evening, while hospice nurses themselves will serve as hostesses.
Governing both the live and silent auctions will be The Carlin and Company Realty and Auctioneers. Amongst the items to be auctioned are an Ohio State University (OSU) Football autographed by Buckeye Head Coach Urban Meyer, tickets to OSU and Indiana Football games, Big Ten Championship game tickets, an African Queen Suite at the Sandusky Kalahari Water Park, a children’s bike provided by Colbart’s Bicycle Shop in Edon, and a Sauder’s Heritage Inn Package in addition to many others.
For those who wish to help, and perhaps partaking in a bit of fun while doing so, the Beacon of Hope Dinner will take place on October 23 at 5:30 P.M. in the Bryan Eagles building, with dinner being served at 6:15 P.M. Entry into the event will cost $20 per person, or a bargain package of eight people for $150. Interested parties should call Kimble at 419-633-7590 for more information or to obtain tickets.
Even angels need assistance from time to time, especially the ones living here on Earth.