CLEARWATER, Fla. – February 27, 2018 – Empath Health is proud to announce the organization’s 2019 Volunteers of the Year. This year’s winners have amassed over 9,500 volunteering hours between them.
“Their selfless dedication, commitment, and love for our patients, their families, and our organization cannot be counted solely in terms of dollars and hours,” said Rafael J. Sciullo, President and CEO of Empath Health. “These six remarkable people represent the best of Empath Health, and we are grateful for their continuing efforts and remarkable achievements on our behalf.”
Kathy Wilder was recognized this year with Empath Health’s highest honor, the Mary J. Labyak Award. Wilder became a supporter of Suncoast Hospice nearly 20 years ago as a founder of the Suncoast Hospice Ball planning committee, helping to raise close to $4.2 million over the past 18 years. Wilder also co-founded the Suncoast Hospice Fashion Show and Luncheon, which brings together more than 300 guests each year and has raised nearly $1 million in support for patients and families. Most recently, Kathy contributed the necessary funding to launch the Berkeley, Cloe, Cassidy Wilder Hospice Teen Scholarship Fund (named in honor of her granddaughters). This endowment awards college scholarships to extraordinary teen volunteers dedicated to the mission of Suncoast Hospice.
This year’s Miriam “Bunny” Flarsheim Award for Patient and Family Support Volunteer was awarded to Thomas “Tom” Avino. Avino began his volunteer service in 2006 after experiencing the death of a loved one who was not under the care of hospice. He recognized how different her passing may have been if she had been in hospice care. He has been volunteering for the past 12 years and has grown into a mentor role for new volunteers, helping them achieve a level of confidence and comfort in their visits with patients.
Each year Empath bestows the Organizational Support Volunteer Award, the Outstanding Young Leader Award, the Specialized Volunteer Service Award, and the Empath Health Members Award. This year’s winners were Carol Hallstein (volunteer since 2006), Zachary “Zach” Martin (volunteer since 2015), Irma Porterfield (volunteer since 2013), and Ron Gemmill (volunteer since 2012) respectively.
About Empath Health
Empath Health is a nonprofit integrated network of care that provides expert, life-changing health care to those with chronic and advanced illnesses. Empath Health includes hospice, home health and physician services, independent living assistance and day care for seniors, HIV services and advance care planning. Contact Empath Health at (727) 467-7423 or EmpathHealth.org.