In The Beginning...

In 1980 and for two years educational meetings were held throughout Addison County to inform the public about the concept of hospice care, and to assess the interest in establishing home care whenever possible.  In mid 1982, a group of seven interested individuals gathered in the basement of St. Mary's Church in Middlebury to learn how to make hospice a possibility.  From these meetings a steering committee was formed, by-laws were written and Addison County Hospice, Inc was organized as a non-profit. The first recorded minutes of the Board of Directors are dated January 5, 1983.  The definition of hospice from that first board meeting reads:

Hospice is an organized system of identifying and helping to meet the varied needs of the terminally ill.  These needs may be medical, social, economic, spiritual or emotional.  The focus of hospice is on home care and the optimum preservation of family life.  The primary goal of hospice is to maintain the physical and emotional comfort and well being of the individual and his or her family.  This goal is carried out by the hospice team, which consists of the family physician, community health nurse, social worker, family pastor or priest and hospice volunteers. 

Volunteers were then recruited and on June 6, 1983, the first training program was introduced with an ambitious 10-week schedule.  In November 1983, the first family in Addison County was served.

And Now...

Several thousand men, women and childred of all ages are served by HVS annually, from patient and family support, to bereavement groups, to public education events and school curriculum.  HVS coordinates nearly 200 volunteers in extended outreach programs providing patient care, care giver respite support, grief support and Wellspring singers, as well as scores of office and fundraising volunteers.  Our agency continues to grow and respond to the hospice and bereavement needs in Addison County as our population ages.  The revised mission statement of Hospice Volunteer Services reads:

Hospice Volunteer Services of Addison County is a not-for-profit agency committed to offering care and support to those in our community facing the end of life or grieving the death of a loved one.  Our mission includes educating the community on dying, death, and bereavement.

The Touching of Hands...

When people touch hands, they share the experience.  Even at the end of life we need continued connection to one another.  We need to have our pain and symptoms managed; we need the context and meaning provided by home, family, friends, colleagues, pets and hobbies.  We need the comfort, reassurance and presence of those we love most.

The hospice program exists to ensure that people diagnosed with a terminal illness have the support and services they need to live at home or in a home-like setting to the end of their lives.  We believe in the potential of this time for finishing the work of life, for making new memories, for simply being here and for saying goodbye.

The end of life is also a difficult time, often demanding more energy and vigilance than families can provide on their own.  We supplement the care they provide with the help of our trained hospice volunteers.  They offer their hands in practical and emotional support of both patient and family.

You can help by contributing to Hospice Volunteer Services.  Your donation is a statement of support for the work and philosophy of Hospice, and an endorsement of our belief that ordinary people are capable of helping one another in extraordinary ways.

Executive Director & Board of Directors...

The current board charged with carrying out the mission and promoting the programs and services of Hospice Volunteer Services are:

Johanna Nichols, President

Chuck Burdick, V. President

David Andrews, Secretary

Gerd Krahn, Treasurer

Margie Bekoff

Barbara Deal

Julie Heffernan

Cynthia Jones

Patty Paul

Carolyn Thompson



Shirley Ryan, Administrative Director since 2005

Priscilla Baker, Program Director since 2005

Laurie Borden, Program Associate since 2016

Margaret Olson, Bereavement Care Provider since 2016 




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