Volunteer Spotlight: Bob & Sandy Stier

Sharing the Gift of Time

Bob and Sandy Stier are proof that sharing your time with others can enhance not only their lives, but yours as well.

Bob, 77, has been a hospice volunteer for Hillcrest in various roles over the years. He has been conducting communion faith services at several Hillcrest communities for the last 25 years, with Sandy’s assistance. The couple also used to raise service dogs and would bring the puppies in to socialize.

Sandy said she has been a volunteer at Hillcrest for more than seven years. The last three have been in hospice care. It’s not an easy task, but it’s one she embraces.

“I have learned a lot,” she said. “Many are very wise. They have lots of stories and tales.”

For Bob, the pinning ceremonies for veterans are extra special. He will do a blessing, and Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Joan Dorwart leads attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Then the pin is presented, along with a certificate and a blanket, made by school children. It always ends in a salute.

There’s one ceremony in particular that stands out for Bob.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremonies were conducted through glass in between the presenters and the recipient. On this occasion, Bob and Dorwart were standing outside.

“It was a fairly cold day,” Bob said. “As we concluded the ceremony with the salute, the veteran, who had not stood in a while, slowly raised himself up from the wheelchair and returned the salute — it meant that much to him. It was so moving. I totally forgot the cold, and it brought home just how much what we do in hospice affects the people we visit and their families.”

Bob and Sandy believe that caring for others is an enriching experience for all involved.

“When you give freely of your time to someone in need, both are blessed,” Sandy said.

They also have some advice for others who may be thinking about volunteering their time. Bob says to remember it’s not just for the individual. Loved ones in the person’s life need to be considered as well.

Sandy says it’s important to listen and pay attention to body language. “If you notice something wrong, tell someone.”

Of course, they receive their fair share of guidance from those they care for as well. For Sandy, it’s accepting difficult situations that can’t be changed.

“I’ve been told several times how important it is to live in the present and be thankful for what we have right now,” Bob said.

Hillcrest Volunteer Services is always looking for compassionate individuals who want to share their time and talents with our aging adults. To learn about how you can help as a hospice or community volunteer, visit hillcrestvolunteers.com or call (402) 934-2376.