Samaritan is honored to have a team of 400 volunteers who have big hearts and generous spirits providing service in a variety of roles. Serving as a hospice volunteer gives something different to everyone. It may be the feeling of joy received from being of service, the knowledge that you are making a difference, or the satisfaction of answering the call to serve. Peggy Morgan is one of this wonderful team of volunteers. For her, volunteering is about giving back in a way that feels impactful in her community. She remarked about volunteering at Samaritan, “My sense that I can make a difference is reinforced and not being able to volunteer for Samaritan during the pandemic left a hole in my heart. Now that we are able to again, my life is whole.”
Peggy is a long-time Samaritan volunteer and donor. Peggy celebrates 18 years of volunteering and over 3,500 volunteer hours as of March of 2022. She first came to know of hospice treatment through the end-of-life care that her aunt received. Witnessing firsthand the peace that this comfort care brought to her family moved her. The impact of that care was never forgotten. Peggy says, ” My mother was my aunt’s primary caregiver and noted that the volunteer who came to visit my aunt gave my mom release from responsibility for a couple of hours each week and that seemed like such a wonderful gift to her.” This inspired Peggy to become a hospice volunteer at Samaritan.
Beginning her journey as a patient volunteer, she was able to pay it forward for other families. A sentiment often shared by volunteers is that they receive more from the experience of serving than they give. Peggy shares this view saying that her experiences volunteering with patients were “incredibly warm and validating.” Being able to bring warmth and comfort to families living through the last stage of life showed her that when it came to end of life the approach is important. Peggy has observed that Samaritan patients and families choose to approach end of life care with “support and kindness” for each other rather than to be mired in fear, anger, and loathing.
Through her 18 years with Samaritan Peggy has served in various roles including visiting patients in their homes and lending a hand in the administrative office. However, the role she hoped to never be in was that of a patient caregiver. Peggy reflected on the experience saying, “everything I ever observed came back to me as a family member. It deepened my commitment to Samaritan.” She and Steve, her late husband, had filled out their Fives Wishes, advanced care planning document, and discussed their healthcare wishes in advance with their family. When Steve became seriously ill, knowing exactly what his wishes were, she and her family were empowered to execute them. Peggy said about the experience, “I felt like I was speaking with Steve’s voice.”
Knowing what a loved one wants through advanced care planning is important. Peggy has become an advocate for advanced care planning programs such as Five Wishes by being a facilitator for Samaritan’s Five Wishes workshops and being available in her community to talk with neighbors who are ready to have the conversation.
Dedicating her time and efforts to Samaritan is one way Peggy makes an impact at Samaritan, the other way is through her financial contributions and adding Samaritan to her estate plan. Being a part of the team, she bears witness to the love that Samaritan puts into the world through its primary care, hospice, palliative, and grief support services. With Samaritan she knows that her contributions will be truly beneficial and that “Samaritan is a good steward.”
Volunteering with Samaritan gives you a chance to be part of a community working towards providing comfort, dignity, and quality of life for patients and families. Sally Cezo, Samaritan’s director of volunteer services, and her team will find a skill you have and put it to good use. Almost two decades later, Peggy continues to be dedicated to volunteering with Samaritan. Through her service she knows that her volunteerism “accrues to the benefit of patients and families,” and continues to believe firmly that everyone deserves to live in comfort and dignity through the end of life.
(Right) Peggy with Director of Development Marcy DiBlasio, Former Lead Development Coordinator Julie Weitzman and Fellow Volunteer Wilma Messler in 2016.