On Wednesday evening Center for Hospice Care gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn in South Bend, Indiana with more than 375 distinguished guests to honor a special volunteer, Sister Carmel Marie Sallows. The recipient of the 34th Annual Helping Hands Award, Sister Carmel has spent the last 20 years volunteering for Center for Hospice Care.
The evening began with a cocktail hour that offered guests the opportunity to mingle, share a drink or two, and indulge in some live music from the Knapp, Probst & Wolfe Trio. The crowd then took their seats in the banquet hall to begin the recognition event.
“This evening is very, very special to me and everyone else who knows Sister Carmel because we are celebrating her level of giving back to the community for over 60 years,” said Mark Murray, President and CEO of Center for Hospice Care.
At the age of 85, Sister Carmel has many years of compassionate care under her belt and she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon! She has helped with many initiatives at Center for Hospice Care including bereavement calls, Camp Evergreen, and Walk for Hospice. Aside from Center for Hospice Care, she also volunteers at the local schools. The event provided the opportunity to celebrate this selfless woman but was also the chance to continue pursuing the organization’s mission.
“If someone seeks hospice care, we provide it to them,” said Chris Taelman, Chief Development Officer for Center for Hospice Care. “And that’s a promise made to the community 40 years ago when volunteers started our organization. We are very fortunate that we have very generous donors that come to these events and provide us with the funding we need to continue our mission which is to improve the quality of living.”
All proceeds from the event will go towards the Sister Carmel Helping Hands Fund to assist families who have difficulty paying for hospice services. As the largest non-profit hospice provider in the State of Indiana, this organization has dedicated itself to ensuring that everyone who needs hospice services receives that care.
“Most people do not realize that many of today’s hospice providers are for-profit,” said Peter Ashley, Director of Communications for the Hospice Foundation. “The fact that we are a non-profit enables us to focus solely on patient care and supporting the patient’s family. We are also committed to providing hospice and other services to anyone eligible, regardless of their ability to pay."
Center for Hospice Care is soon to expand their care with the construction of a new in-patient facility along the Saint Joseph River. This new addition is telling of the organization’s success and commitment to making the last moments of a person’s life as comfortable and peaceful as possible.
After a delicious dinner and sincere words from Center for Hospice Care team members and religious leaders in the community, Sister Carmel had a chance to speak about what this award and charity fund mean to her.
“When my mother was in hospice and dying I promised her that I would volunteer for hospice,” she said. “[Center for Hospice Care] made a promise and they always have kept it - never turn anyone away who needs the care. That’s why I feel so privileged to say I’m a volunteer for the Center for Hospice Care.”
Sister Carmel is a woman of her word which is why she and the Center for Hospice Care have been able to make such a positive impact on so many lives. By holding fast to this promise, they will continue to offer the best hospice care to the patients and families of Indiana.