Volunteer Spotlight: Byron Laws
By Rose Marie Massaro
Please meet Byron, the next featured volunteer in our National Volunteer Month Spotlight series. As a volunteer, Byron values the connections he has made with Pathways patients. He cherishes the wonderful life and love stories many have shared with him. Learn more about his experiences at Pathways in this quick Q&A.
Meet Pathways Volunteer
Volunteer at Pathways since: July 2018
What does your role at Pathways entail?
I am on the Pathways team that provides Veteran’s Recognition Services for hospice patients who have served in the U.S. military. I have several regular palliative care patients that I sit with each week. I also provide caregiver relief to the families of hospice patients. And, on occasion, I have the privilege of sitting “vigil” with patients who are at the end of life and do not have friends or family nearby. Pathways has a strong ethos that our fellow human beings should have loving companionship as they complete their journey in the body.
How has being a hospice volunteer changed your outlook on life?
Seeing how hospice patients and their loved ones go through end of life challenges is an inspiration to me. This work lifts my heart and allows me a regular opportunity to show love, consideration and kindness to others, all things I love to have others give me. More than any other thing though, I have found that being a hospice volunteer gives me an ongoing reminder of how precious the present moment is and how important it is to live our lives fully and intentionally, without fear.
Which skills do you think are important in being a volunteer at Pathways?
Honesty: with oneself about the nature of our lives as human beings
Willingness: to participate fully in each moment, and to provide comfort whenever needed
Optimism: regarding the nature of the human spirit
Faith: in humanity to be compassionate to one another regardless of the details
Love: the ability to love someone fully as they are, in this moment
Curiosity: about the death and dying process
What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done yet?
Write a book…though I am working on it!
What would you like people to know about hospice and/or Pathways?
Pathways is a professional organization with a real heart. The staff and volunteers are amazing. I have had the most excellent experiences working with Pathways people and Pathways patients. If one is willing to let go of fear of facing end of life issues, I believe most would find hospice work both useful and rewarding.
If you would like to volunteer at Pathways, please visit pathways-care.org/volunteer/ or email Deb Hayman at firstname.lastname@example.org.