Giving, receiving historic gifts

Published 4:43 pm Friday, November 28, 2008

Lindsey Harrell and Jenny Combs, students from Evangel Christian, sit patiently scribbling notes on the life of J.D. Shaw.

Shaw’s family will receive a biography of his life after he has passed away. So will numerous other families whose mothers or fathers the girls visited as part of a community service project with Family Comfort Hospice.

“I have several family members in similar situations so I know how important it is for them to spend time with people,” Harrell said. “I also benefit because I learn so much about history from the people who were actually there.”

Volunteer coordinator Lance Lee said the project makes a huge impact on both families and volunteers.

“Sometimes after our patients die, the family members just wish they could hear or see their mother or father one more time,” Lee said. “This allows them that opportunity.”

Every aspect of the project focuses on the intriguing stories each person has to tell and the experiences they have to share.

“They are very open about their relationships with God,” Combs said. “Mr. Shaw had an amazing story about how he put his trust in God during World War II. He knew he might be hit during action one day, so the night before, he prayed that God would let him be hit on his left side so he could recover more easily. The next day he was hit in his left ankle.”

Shaw also told Harrell about his life growing up during the Great Depression. He told her about how everyone around him was poor. He also told her how they learned to survive by living off the land.

Combs said she knows that every story teaches her something new about life. The program also allows her to use her own love of writing.

Lee said it’s exactly the result he had hoped for.

“The inner-generational interaction means a lot to both patient and volunteer,” Lee said. “Our kids experience part of history in such a unique way and of course our patients light up to have visitors.”

For more information on volunteering, call Lee at 663–5614.