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Jerry Hejka-Ekins Named Hospice of Emanuel 2011 Volunteer of the Year

Turlock, CA-A volunteer for Hospice of Emanuel since 2005, Jerry Hejka-Ekins was named 2011 Volunteer of the Year at a ceremony at the Emanuel Cancer Center April 27.

"Jerry has worked in a variety of areas for Hospice," said Emanuel Support Services Coordinator Sandy Ricardo. "He's been a family visitor, office assistant, support group facilitator and he is on the newly formed Reiki team. This year alone he has logged over 400 hours volunteering for Hospice."

For the past several years, Hejka-Ekins has been working as a support group facilitator for the Hospice of Emanuel's "Journey through Grief" support group.

"This was a new challenge for Jerry and he took it in stride," Ricardo said. "He is even planning on attending Dr. Allan Wolfelt's grief training in Fort Collins, Colorado in June along with his wife to further his facilitating abilities."

One of Jerry's cases as a family visitor was working with a patient whose goal was to get married before he died. Hejka-Ekins not only worked with other volunteers to help make that happen, he was even a witness at the ceremony, Ricardo said.

"Jerry also has a personal interest in comparative religions that's been invaluable for our volunteers," Ricardo said. "At hospice, we serve people of all beliefs and the training he's provided our volunteers on various religions helps us serve this very diverse community. We're fortunate to have volunteers like Jerry who go above and beyond to care for people."

Hospice of Emanuel provides care for people in the last phases of an incurable disease, helping them live as fully and comfortably as possible and leave this life with a sense of fulfillment and dignity. Clinical professionals and volunteers team with families throughout the entire process of death and provide support group and bereavement services following the death of a loved one.

To learn more about Hospice of Emanuel, call (209) 664-2550.

Emanuel Medical Center is a not-for-profit, community-based Christian hospital. Its 403-bed multi-level medical campus includes a 209-bed acute care hospital, a 145-bed skilled nursing facility and a 49-bed assisted living facility. It provides emergency, critical care, pediatric, cardiovascular services, cancer diagnosis and treatment, women's health services, surgery, and hospice services.

For more information, to search for a doctor by specialty or location, or for an online symptom-checker, visit www.emanuelmedicalcenter.org.

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