By Terry Rogers
Last month, Milford’s Barbara Stoltz was presented with Governor Jack Markell’s Outstanding Volunteer Award in the Human Needs Category. Ms. Stoltz was nominated for her work with Delaware Hospice by Susan Beckham.
“I chose Barbara to nominate for this award because she is responsible, dependable and devoted as a volunteer for Delaware Hospice,” said Ms. Beckham. Barbara even goes so far as to call and tell us when she’s available during any given week in case we have any last minute office work or visits that need to be taken care of.” According to Ms. Beckham, Ms. Stoltz covers the Delaware Hospice Center Reception Desk every Saturday from 4 to 8 PM and often checks the calendar to see if there are any last minute cancellations she can cover.
Ms. Stoltz said that her father died at the age of 52 and she assisted in caring for him during his last days. She said that this was at a time when there was no hospice care. A native of Pennsylvania, Ms. Stoltz said that she doesn’t recall why she began volunteering for hospice programs in her home state, but that she believes she saw an advertisement in a local paper asking for assistance. She volunteered in Pennsylvania for nine years before moving to New Jersey where she volunteered in Cape May County for 14 years.
“My kids were teenagers and I had time,” Ms. Stoltz, who moved to Milford five years ago, said. “I remembered how happy my father was to be at home when he was dying. Our regular outing was to Pep Boys. It began when he need a part for the car and he ended up with the wrong one, so we had to go back. I think we had to make several trips and it just became a regular thing with us.” Ms. Stoltz said that she not only covers the reception desk, she also goes to the homes of hospice patients to sit with them so their caregiver can take a break.
Ms. Beckham said that Ms. Stoltz has been extremely valuable not only to hospice but to those that use the service. She said that Ms. Stoltz picks up prescriptions and delivers medications to nearby families who are unable to get away to do so. Ms. Stoltz said she also does some clerical work when necessary.
“If you ever watched the show M*A*S*H, I’m like that little guy who did everything, Radar,” Ms. Stoltz said.
Ms. Stoltz said that when Ms. Beckham told her she wanted to nominate her for the award, she asked that someone else be chosen as she didn’t feel she should be recognized for what she did. Ms. Stoltz said that she didn’t volunteer for recognition, but to give back to those who needed help. However, she admitted that the award ceremony was very exciting as she was on the stage with Governor Markell and that Mayor Bryan Shupe was also there to recognize her. She said it was exciting to see her photo “largely displayed on the stage.”
In addition to volunteering at Delaware Hospice, Ms. Stoltz also volunteers at Lulu Ross Elementary School, mentoring students in reading. She believes that every child should be given the chance to read and wants to introduce them to an activity that can bring both knowledge and fun to each child. She also volunteers occasionally at the Milford Senior Center.
The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award is given to individuals and groups who participate in education, protecting the environment, advocating for others and raising funds for community organizations.
“These volunteers recognize that it’s not about them,” said Governor Markell. “The people we honor not only illustrate the growing ethic of volunteerism in our state, but they contribute to a stronger and healthier Delaware.” The awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, Delaware Health and Human Services, the Division of State Service Centers, the State Office of Volunteerism, as well as the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.