Tribune Print Share Text

Volunteers grateful to share their compassion

Here’s the story behind their reason for giving

Created date

January 22nd, 2013

At Maris Grove, Erickson Living s community in Delaware County, Pa., Bill Eichelberger and Warren Given find joy through fulfilling the Erickson Living mission: We share our gifts to create communities that celebrate life. Like 152 of their neighbors, they volunteer at Rose Court, Maris Grove s on-campus continuing care community. Bill, a former DuPont employee who retired early to earn a masters degree in pastoral counseling, volunteers twice a week for Rose Court Program Manager Luann Davis. His commitment is really unconditional, she says. My life s been enriched by the kindness and warmth I see Bill extend so openly.

Applying his calling

Working from a list of names that Davis provides, Bill visits people throughout the Rose Court neighborhoods rehabilitation, personal care, and long-term care. I serve as an unofficial chaplain, a friendly visitor, or a listening ear, he says. Whatever s required. Since he started volunteering, Bill also learned that his grandson and Davis s son are neighbors and best friends. The Eichelbergers moved to Maris Grove from Hockesin, Del., where Bill counseled professionally and as a volunteer for local churches. Now, I ve decided my calling is at Maris Grove, he says. He s grateful to use his gifts in such a compassionate environment. What impressed me immediately was that staff treat patients with great gentleness and respect, says Bill. Later, when his wife Betty spent nine days in rehabilitation at Rose Court, she confirmed his impression firsthand.

An extended family feeling

Warren Given s wife Jean moved to Rose Court three years ago due to memory problems. Early on, says the Givens daughter Carol Atkinson, Davis gave the family such reassurance and helpful advice that she and Davis formed an immediate bond. From day one, it s been a positive experience, Carol says. Every time I see Luann [Davis], it s like seeing an old friend. Because Rose Court is on campus, Warren visits Jean every day. He s also made a point of joining her for holiday dinners at Rose Court. An avid photographer, Warren photographs the other visiting families on those occasions and gets prints made for them. I like people. That s why I do it, he says. We have a camaraderie here. What makes Maris Grove so special is the friendly, extended family feeling. That feeling includes even four-legged family members. Warren s dog Duncan, one of Rose Court s first therapy dogs, volunteers with him as a friendly visitor. Davis started and coordinates the dog therapy program; sponsoring organizations do the training.

Volunteering is easy at Maris Grove

Volunteering at Maris Grove is easy because many opportunities exist right on campus, buildings and clubhouses are connected by climate-controlled enclosed walkways, and a campus shuttle runs every day. On-campus amenities include a convenience store, a pharmacy, multiple restaurants, and a full-service medical center where resident Warren Given s doctors have their offices. I only need to go outside to walk my dog, he says. Not even winter weather can curtail those walks because Maris Grove s excellent grounds crew keeps sidewalks and roadways cleared of snow and ice.

Comments