Heroes of Hospice of Santa Barbara to be honored


Heroes of Hospice are outstanding community volunteers who play a vital role in supporting Hospice of Santa Barbara’s mission to provide care for anyone experiencing the impact of life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one. The Heroes of Hospice Luncheon recognizes these individuals who have demonstrated compassionate dedication to HSB’s clients. This year, at the 4th annual Heroes of Hospice Luncheon, awards will be presented for Partnership, Legacy, and Volunteering. To make the applause for honorees’ efforts resound, HSB is inviting the community to join them in saying, “Thanks!” at the luncheon, from 11:30am to 1:30pm, September 7th at The Fess Parker.

 “Our Heroes represent the finest qualities of service and care in our community,” said David Selberg, CEO, Hospice of Santa Barbara.

The Partnership Award will be presented to DASH (Doctors Assisting Seniors at Home). Offering on-call, rapid response medical care throughout Santa Barbara and Goleta, DASH has cut the number of costly emergency room visits and hospitalizations for its nearly 2,000 clients by more than 30 percent. DASH’s team of nurses and physicians is available Monday through Saturday to respond to the homes of seniors from Santa Barbara to Goleta. DASH team members will also communicate closely with a client’s primary care providers. DASH is offered for a modest monthly fee, or free-of-charge for seniors living in low-income housing or receiving Medi-Cal or Section 8 housing assistance, putting it within reach of the most vulnerable residents.

The Legacy Award will be presented to Dana VanderMey. Over her 17 years at Hospice of Santa Barbara, VanderMey co-created the now instrumental Patient Care Services department from scratch, trained more than 400 volunteers, and cared for patients and families experiencing terminal illness. VanderMey’s father Malcolm Peattie, the HSB Board of Directors President in the early ‘80s, introduced her to the organization and told her about an open position, HSB’s RN Case Manager. She worked at HSB until 1989, only to return in 2001-2013 as the Director of Volunteers. Today, the Patient Care Services program has multiple divisions and is key to delivering clients the care they need.

The Volunteer Award will be presented to three individuals: Muriel Ross, Joe Jowell, and Ann Smithcors.

 Having volunteered at Hospice of Santa Barbara for 37 years, Muriel Ross can’t imagine anything else she’d rather do. She truly enjoys caring for her patients by taking them to run errands and have fun. Originally from Canada, Ross studied Registered Nursing. She later attended graduate school and earned a post-graduate degree in Psychiatry. As a nurse, she worked at a hospital in Montreal for the majority of her career. Moving with her husband to Santa Barbara in 1964, she spent time volunteering in home care as well as at Serenity House.

Joe Jowell began volunteering at Hospice of Santa Barbara in 1981. Having experienced the death of his wife in 1974, he felt a strong connection with clients and has learned many things about pain, loss, and acceptance. He sees HSB as a way to open the door to the taboo subject of death and grieving, as well as encouraging terminally ill people to seek assistance and not shy away from others due to their condition.

Caring for others is sewn into Ann Smithcors’ DNA. The daughter of a nurse, Smithcors helped her grandfather, a doctor, treat patients while growing up in England. She went on to become a nurse and midwife, and she continued her nursing career after moving to America in 1960. After retiring in the early 1980s, she started volunteering at HSB. Volunteering allowed her to do something she had always wanted: to spend time with patients and their families. She has been volunteering for 34 years, doing anything with clients from caroling around the holidays, preparing tea, or simply sitting with them to hold hand