Read about our longest-serving volunteer, Clo Lindsey.
By Lila Ivey, Hospice of Marion County
Back in the 1980s, Clo Lindsey was a wife, mother to five children, the youngest of whom are twins, and a math teacher at Lake Weir High School. Despite her busy and full schedule, Clo felt called to minister to those with lifethreatening illnesses. When she saw a newspaper ad for the very first volunteer training for Hospice of Marion County (then called Ocala Hospice), she answered the call. That was 28 years ago, and she’s still at it.
Clo is Hospice of Marion County’s longest-serving volunteer, mostly visiting patients in their homes, but she’s also known to model clothing at the Thrift Store Fashion Shows and helps out at fundraisers, which support unfunded patient care. As the county’s only not-for-profit hospice, Hospice of Marion County relies on donations. In 2010 the agency contributed almost $1 million dollars in charitable care to residents.
Through it all, Clo has remained positive and uplifted about her work with patients facing the end of life. Over the years she insists that it is she who truly benefits from her volunteer work. Whether it is just sitting with patients, listening to their concerns or helping out with light housework, her presence as a caring non-family member makes it easier on the families she serves.
“I know my presence makes a difference,” she says. “Because of my faith, I accept the fact that patients in our program will eventually die, but I can help them through the stages of the dying process by just being there with them all along the way.”
When she first became a hospice volunteer, Clo was unaware of the five stages of dying: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and finally acceptance, which were first popularized in the groundbreaking book by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and have been tremendously instrumental in hospice work.
Volunteers are valued members of the professional hospice team, which includes employed medical directors, plus scores of RNs, aides, social workers, chaplains and bereavement facilitators, who make regular house calls.
After all these years, what keeps Clo going? “Being able to do things for others gives me great satisfaction.” At 81 years old and going strong, Clo not only provides visits for Hospice of Marion County, she’s also the friendly face at the front desk at Ocala Regional Medical Center.