Volunteers devote their time and talents for causes close to their hearts. They make a difference.

We are happy to join in celebrating National Volunteer Week April 7 to 13 and National Volunteer Month from April 1 to April 30.  Much love and appreciation goes out to our nearly 2,000 volunteers at Empath Health. They all help provide life-changing care, support and comfort for our community.

Going above and beyond in their service are our 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award recipients. In Part 1 of this week, learn about our first two award winners and their extraordinary service.

Award Winner Kathy Wilder

Kathy Wilder – Mary J. Labyak Award
Suncoast Hospice Foundation Board of Trustees and Special Events

Wilder became a supporter of Suncoast Hospice almost 20 years ago as a founder of the Suncoast Hospice Ball planning committee. She continues to help ensure a thriving event, including personally designing and setting up the silent auction room with intricate displays. Wilder also co-founded the Suncoast Hospice Fashion Show and Luncheon. She leads a team overseeing more than 25 models and spends countless hours choosing and coordinating fashions from Suncoast Hospice Resale Shops’ donated items. These special events raise funds to support care and services provided to our patients, families and others in need in our community. Wilder recently contributed the necessary funding to launch the Cassidy, Cloe, Berkley Wilder Hospice Teen Scholarship Fund, named in honor of her granddaughters. This endowment awards college scholarships to extraordinary teen volunteers dedicated to the mission of Suncoast Hospice.


Award Winner Tom Avino

Thomas “Tom” Avino – Miriam “Bunny” Flarsheim Award                                                                                                                                  Suncoast Hospice Care Center Mid-Pinellas

Avino began his volunteer service at Suncoast Hospice in 2006 after experiencing the death of a loved one who was not in hospice care. He recognized how different her passing may have been if she would have had those services available. Avino’s presence is like that of an unsung hero, quietly going about the frontline work that needs to be done. He understands the best way to help patients is to listen to what they need, even when it isn’t him. Avino has grown into a mentor for new volunteers, helping them achieve a level of confidence and comfort in their visits with patients. He inspires new volunteers to understand how to be a comforting presence when entering patients’ rooms while still keeping the focus on the patients and their needs.


Stay tuned for our other award winners.

Help Your Community – Be a Volunteer

Click here to learn more about our volunteer opportunities or to contact volunteer services for more information.