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Annual event honors Hospice

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cal Siegfried master of ceremonies for the 15th annual An Evening For Hospice, welcomes a full house to the Prairie View room at Community Hospital Sunday Evening.
(Dawn Cribbs/McCook Daily Gazette)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Laughter, twinkling lights, glittering jewels and sparkling holiday attire set the stage Sunday night for the 15th annual An Evening for Hospice in the Prairie View Room at Community Hospital in McCook, raising more than $20,000.

Purposely departing from tradition, there were no auction items on the block to entice donors. Instead, charitable chance tickets for three donated packages were sold, with Kevin Ord winning the Husker Touchdown football package, Jerda Garey winning Escape to Estes and Les Schmidt winning the Di'vine' Entertainment package.

Hospice, taken from the Latin word "hospes," which means "a place of shelter for weary and sick travelers," is a unique and ever-evolving level of care that allows those who are dying to live with dignity and to celebrate life. Hospice nurse, Cathy Nichols RN, shared the stories of a World War II veteran; the only real cowboy she's ever met, Roy; Mary, the mother-in-law; and Don, whose desire was to die in the same home where he had lived all of the 94 years of his life.

Jennifer Tally, left, and her mother, above, Anita Hirsch, both of Oberlin, prepare to provide inspiring entertainment.
(Dawn Cribbs/McCook Daily Gazette)
"This is the most rewarding work I've ever done," she confessed, "It's not really as sad as you would think.

"In hospice, not only do we provide medical care and comfort, we keep in mind that we're celebrating life."

She closed her brief remarks with an excerpt from the "Prayer for the Dying," saying, "May you look back with fondness. May you look ahead without fear."

Jim Ulrich, Community Hospital president, thanks those in attendance for their generous support of the hospice program, announcing that $370,000 was raised over the past 14 years.
(Dawn Cribbs/McCook Daily Gazette)
Nichols also expressed her gratitude to those present for their "faithful support of hospice."

Terri Shipshock, executive director of Community Hospital Health Foundation, read the memoir of a cab driver who found peace and purpose as he drove an elderly woman past the memories of her life on her way to hospice,

Jim Ulrich, Community Hospital president, detailed the many accomplishments achieved with the $370,000 raised over the past 14 years, including hospice education, equipment, supplies, volunteer training, grief support and the two new hospice rooms situated at the south end of the Phase 2 construction.

Terri Shipshock, executive director of Community Hospital Health Foundation, reads a cab driver's recollection of his most important fare.
(Dawn Cribbs/McCook Daily Gazette)
With high praise for the hospice team, Ulrich congratulated the crowd for "ensuring that this team is able to complete their mission."

The Rev. Dr. Mary Hendricks, hospice chaplain, offered the invocation with deep gratitude for the gifts of hope given through the hospice program, because of the "generous souls that are committed to the hospice program."

Anita Hirsch, accompanied by her daughter, Jennifer Tally provided delightful entertainment throughout the evening singing "The Lord's Prayer," "I Can Only Imagine," "Held," and "The Prayer." Hirsch works at Good Samaritan in Oberlin and Tally is the music teacher at Oberlin Elementary.

Cathy Nichols RN, hospice nurse shares some of her favorite memories of hospice clients.
(Dawn Cribbs/McCook Daily Gazette)
The McCook High School Select Choir, under the direction of Abby Misfelt, brought the evening to a close as participants gathered close together in the Healing Garden against the chilly evening, singing "Let There Be Peace On Earth," as the garden was illuminated by "memorial lights," purchased in memory of loved ones. The Hospice Team and McCook Lettering provided gold stars as take-home ornaments for each loved one memorialized in the lighting ceremony.

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