Commuity Voices: Rotary Club promotes special peace

Information on Rotary International Club:

Information on Homestead Hospice:; 877-355-4472.

To consider death this green and lovely time of year may seem strange, but the journey away from earthly existence will happen for some despite the season. Just turn to the AJC obituary section to read captivating vignettes of fellow Georgians who’ve passed.

If you look at photos of the deceased you’ll see business leaders, veterans of war, educators – fellow humans who left a mark. Each unique story provides memory of the vibrant soul now departed. Some even bring a smile.

Those who suffered with illness and disease, however, give me pause. I wonder: How did they cope? To whom did they turn for comfort and support?

One organization meant to allay such fears was featured at a Rotary Club of Milton-Windward lunch meeting I recently visited. The speakers were from Homestead Hospice of Roswell, a comprehensive hospice provider headquartered in Atlanta.

As the meeting began, I thought about peace. Rotary’s logo is based on a wagon wheel, which evolved into a sprocket with a keyway signifying rotation or movement. Along with its motto of service before self, Rotary clubs throughout the world work to advance understanding, friendship, goodwill and peace.

Peace is also the goal of hospice care, which, done well, consists of a team of healthcare professionals who address the physical, spiritual, psychological and social needs of patients diagnosed with life-limiting, incurable sickness. Some hospice teams travel to a patient’s home or hospital. Others may be on staff at patient facilities.

Lin Tatum, director of volunteer services at Homestead Hospice, calmly addressed the Rotarians who’d left busy work places to focus on how to help the dying. Some nodded as Tatum explained Homestead’s many services, including palliative care with a large clinical staff, and full support for patients and families.

Next to speak was Wendi Kelley, Homestead volunteer coordinator. She explained how volunteers find joy bringing comfort, love and respect to each patient. “Patients may not always communicate well,” Kelley said, “but volunteers still build a relationship and receive so many gifts.”

Crucial activities volunteers provide are based upon their own talents and desires to help, Kelley explained, and may include listening to music or reading books with patients. Families, too, depend upon volunteers for assistance and emotional support. Volunteers preferring a clerical role are also encouraged to contact Homestead for training.

Rotary International is known as an organization that churns forward to help communities thrive by supporting charities, helping in emergencies, and working to eradicated scourges like hunger, disease and human trafficking. That it would stop to consider helping those at the end of life is a significant gesture of peace.