Volunteer Story: JO BUZHARDT

“As soon as I entered I thought to myself, this is where I am supposed to be. It was just so peaceful, and everyone had such a calming presence about them.”

A Hospice & Community Care volunteer since 2014, Jo Buzhardt shares her talents in many areas. She serves as a vigil volunteer, a patient companion, and a hospice house volunteer. Jo says she thought about volunteering for many years, and nothing quite fit. “In May of 2013 I visited a friend at the Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House. As soon as I entered I thought to myself, this is where I am supposed to be. It was just so peaceful, and everyone had such a calming presence about them. Something just told me that I should volunteer here.”

Jo credits her parents with setting into motion her concern for others. Her grandmother lived with them until Jo was a senior in high school, and “I spent a lot of my time with my grandmother running errands for her, and making sure she had what she needed, especially her ice cream. She loved ice cream.” During Jo’s senior year, her grandmother broke her hip and was moved to a nursing home. “Mom and Dad insisted that we visit grandmother and as time progressed she was diagnosed with dementia. We became accustomed to seeing her change and learned it was OK that Grandma carried baby dolls, and it was OK that she saw things that we couldn’t see, and that sometimes she thought my father was her husband. All part of her disease, part of her dementia, and she still was my grandmother. We learned not to be scared of aging or illness because these are part of life.”

Jo shares that her favorite part of volunteering is the staff. “I have never been met with anything other than a smile. The staff here is outstanding. Its feels like a second family. To be with someone at the end of their life is very humbling, I am blessed to be able to be a small part of that experience.”

Menu