Seeker finds fulfillment at Treasure Coast Hospice
By Bill Boes
Patient Visitor Volunteer
I didn't realize it at the time, but my transformation into a hospice volunteer began when I took a six-month family leave to care for my father in 2009.
At the end of those six months in Pennsylvania, my father’s status had not changed, so instead of returning to work, I took a one-year sabbatical. I got my father comfortably situated in a good facility near my sister’s home and then came to Stuart to contemplate my life options. After my father passed away, I realized I did not want to return to my job after the sabbatical. I wanted to do more spiritually fulfilling work.
So I followed my heart and found this wonderful organization, Treasure Coast Hospice, which has enriched my life so much. I also became a volunteer with the American Cancer Society and the House of Hope, and a regular plasma donor for the Florida Blood Bank.
Much like my call to volunteering, I also am very drawn to being active outdoors. And right here in Martin County there’s so much natural beauty to appreciate and to challenge me. In 2009, I found myself passionately investigating the market for human powered vehicles such as pedal boats and bikes.
The result within a year was my pedaling a watercraft for 16 hours straight, from Bimini, Bahamas, to within a few miles of the Florida coast, in August 2011. The entire story is on my Facebook page entitled “Pedal to Bimini.” It was a fantastic experience. I continue to train daily using a bike for a repeat attempt I am planning for August this year. So my Florida-based transformation has been both spiritual and physical.
My bigger dreams for the years to come, if I am so blessed, include the dream of founding a hospice facility for the poor based on “Blessed Theresa of Calcutta’s” model. Upon successful completion of this dream project, I intend to return to the central African bush where I had spent three years as a teacher and missionary in my young adulthood. Africa is where I hope to live out my remaining years.
(As a patient visitor volunteer, Bill Boes does 11th-hour visits anytime he is asked, helping assure that no one dies alone. He also speaks at volunteer training sessions, where he shares stories about what it is like going to patients’ homes, to the nursing homes and assisted living residences and to the hospice houses. Bill also is a volunteer in our Thursday Call program, calling our patients to make sure that their needs are taken care of before the weekend comes.)