Every day the Empath Health family of volunteers are making a difference in the lives of others. Whether supporting the organization from behind the scenes or providing comfort directly to patients and families, we appreciate all our volunteers do to help us provide life-changing care.

To celebrate the dedication of our volunteers, we are happy to announce our 2020 Volunteer of the Year Award recipients. In part 1, meet our first set of winners and learn about their extraordinary service.

Theresa “Terry” Pellegrino

Theresa “Terry” Pellegrino – Mary J. Labyak Award
Office and Patient/Family Support Volunteer – North Pinellas Care Center

Pellegrino began her volunteer journey with Suncoast Hospice 15 years ago after experiencing hospice care with a loved one. At age 85, she began providing office support at the North Community Service Center and soon began working with patients and families in the North Pinellas Care Center. A lifelong learner, she completed training in transitions companionship and mealtime assistance and has recently completed her Reiki Master certification. Even after celebrating her 100th birthday, Pellegrino volunteers four times per week. She still provides office support at the Community Center. In the Care Center, she provides mealtime assistance and Reiki. As a transitions companion she sits with hospice patients at the very end of their lives, providing a presence for them and their families/caregivers. Terry often stays connected with a particular patient or family member during their stay, providing comforting continuity. She is insightful, gentle and compassionate in her interactions with patients, families, staff and volunteers alike.

Carol Levin

Carol Levin – Miriam “Bunny” Flarsheim Award
Patient/Family Support Volunteer, Pearl Team

Levin began volunteering in 2009 and is now in her eleventh year as a Patient and Family Support Volunteer serving the Pearl, Burgundy and Aqua teams. She is trained in Reiki, transitions companionship, mealtime assistance, aromatherapy and palliative arts music. Many of her patients are non-verbal or Alzheimer’s patients, yet she is able to use her skills to build a connection with each one. Even if a patient is sleeping, she will sit with them and provide a healing presence. Levin is a valuable member of the team, with her observations and knowledge helping to identify when patients are showing signs of imminence and providing many long hours at the bedside. Levin enjoys working with new volunteers and sharing tips on how to connect and relate to patients. She is highly committed to her service, even when life has given her unexpected challenges.

Help Your Community – Be a Volunteer

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