Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Remembering Hope Volunteer Joyce Johnson

Joyce Johnson, the epitome of a dedicated volunteer, passed away on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 in a car accident in North Fort Myers while on her way to a morning shift as a cashier at Hope Chest.

Joyce began her service to Hope in June 2004. She came into the store (and our lives) as a smartly dressed meticulously groomed 75 year-old lady who positively impacted the lives of everyone who met her. Never a hair out of place, her usual array of 5 pairs of earrings at one time, her multiple gold chains around her neck - Joyce’s appearance hid well her down to earth sense of humor and love of food – especially all things chocolate, preferably with salt. Her Hope Chest co-workers became like a second family to Joyce, and they marveled at her ability to eat a multi-layered burger on a bun without leaving a crumb. No to-go box for Joyce. If it was on the plate when served, it was meant to be eaten!

Joyce’s love for her family was immeasurable. Her son, Corky, and granddaughter, Rhianna, whom she helped to raise and who called her Mom, live locally and played prominent roles in her daily life. Her daughter Lauren lives elsewhere and visited often. Lauren was enlisted many times to come to work with her Mom when she was here visiting – Joyce’s work ethic would not allow her to miss her scheduled shift if she could find a way not to. Her granddaughter was also recruited by Joyce and, for a time, was an active volunteer with Hope Chest. Corky was “on call” to come when his Mom needed him – especially if she locked her keys in the car – with the motor still running.

Joyce reminisced often about her time with the love of her life, her deceased husband, Charles. She spoke of their travels together while Charles was employed as a Corporate Officer of a major nationwide business. She proudly showed the diamond necklace she always wore and explained the significance of it in hers’and Charles’ life together.

Despite coping with a major health issue in the past few years, Joyce never faltered in her dedication and commitment to Hope Chest. As she went through a long recovery period and was absent from the store for months, she still made time to stay in touch with her good friends there, and they with her. She refused offers of help from them, instead wanting to “tough it out” on her own. And she did!

Joyce came back to us at Hope Chest, appetite as robust as ever, working as many shifts as she could possibly manage, with the same bright smile and cheerful greeting to all each time she took her position behind the cash register. In a recent conversation with her bagger assistant on a Thursday afternoon, Joyce wondered aloud about “what happens to who I am when I die – I know what will happen to my body, but what about who I am?"

The response to that would have been - "Who you are, Joyce, lives on in those you have nurtured and loved – the essence of you, never dies."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Terraces at Bonita Springs Agreement with Hope Hospice to Provide Additional Options for Region

The Terraces at Bonita Springs, a southwest Florida senior living community, announced a partnership with Hope Hospice that will provide additional space to offer care and comfort to those who need end-of-life palliative care. The partnership grew from an opportunity that arose following the opening of the Renaissance health center at The Terraces two summers ago.

“Due to the seasonal nature of health and wellness, we saw an opportunity in the fact that some of the beds in our health center weren’t always full,” said Ross Dickmann, Executive Director of The Terraces at Bonita Springs. “We already had a strong relationship with Hope Hospice dating back to the opening of Renaissance in 2013, so it made good sense to build on that.”

The agreement means that Hope Hospice will be able to use additional space at The Terraces to continue their mission of providing exceptional care and emotional support to those about to fulfill life’s final journey.

“We’re pleased to be able to help keep the promise of what Hope Hospice already does,” said Dickmann. “Being in the field of senior living, we already had an understanding of what end-of-life care is about, with all the emotions that go along with it for everyone involved. Being able to offer additional space to our partners at Hope Hospice just made sense, and the idea was born from there.”

The agreement was finalized at the end of May, following meetings between Dickmann, Hope Hospice President and CEO Samira Beckwith, and other leaders from both organizations.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Harvey-Engelhardt Funeral Home Donation to Rainbow Trails

Pictured are Harvey Engelhardt staff Tim Hauck, Renee Duncan, Jack Covert and Rachel Schad,
along with Hope's Bob Sheehan and Matthews Children's foundation representative Curtis Elliot.
Hope is grateful to the Harvey-Engelhardt Funeral Home in Fort Myers, who applied for and received a $1,000 grant through the Matthews Children’s Foundation to present to the Hope Hospice’s Rainbow Trails Camp Program. Donations help us keep the camp free of charge for all campers. Learn more at

Cypress Woods Volunteers Donate over 25,000 Items for Hope in 15 Years

Over a decade ago, a special group of five ladies got together to ‘pay it forward.’ All five had been touched by hospice, and they felt it was their calling to give back. Lois Braden, the team coordinator, worked with Hope to identify our highest priority sewing needs - comfort items, for our patients. They started on a small scale, using donated materials, but have since expanded. Now many more Cypress Woods community members are involved, and a steady supply of generous donations keep the group going strong.

After all these years, Lois continues to coordinate and direct the sewers’ activities. During season, they gather each week at their community center to cut, iron, stitch, and create a variety of helpful items. For the sewers who work from home, Lois arranges a rendezvous for material drop off and pick up. As the season comes to a close and most of the sewers head north, Lois bids them farewell with packages of materials to keep them busy during the summer months. These sewing snow birds continue working, with Lois’ materials and instructions, then send their finished products back to Florida.

These men and women, who give so graciously of their time, talents, and supplies, strive to leave this world a better place. Hope salutes these true heroes and heroines who bring peace and joy to those they serve.

Beckwith appointed to Florida Center for Nursing board of directors

Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services, has been appointed to serve on the Florida Center for Nursing board of directors. Beckwith has been named to the board for a three-year term that begins July 1.

The Florida Center for Nursing is a state workforce center established by Florida statute to recommend solutions to address Florida’s nursing shortage. By collecting, analyzing and reporting on the nursing workforce, the center seeks to ensure an adequate supply of direct care providers for the health of all Floridians.

“Serving on the Florida Center for Nursing board provides the opportunity to help shape strategies and develop programs to address healthcare industry issues as the demand for qualified nursing care increases,” said Beckwith. “At Hope, nurses are an integral part of our team, and they demonstrate a professional and compassionate commitment to improving the quality of life for all persons in our care.”