Susan Relfe, Volunteer Services Supervisor at Hospice of Southern Illinois, is set to retire late June. This is a bittersweet moment when such a dedicated and person-centered employee, who is very passionate and knowledgeable, closes a chapter with us. We are not too disappointed, because Susan has reassured us she will continue to volunteer and participate in the legacy she leaves behind.
Susan joined us in 1999 when a friend said she needed to be in a position at Hospice of Southern Illinois that just opened. She was not looking for a new job. In fact, she really didn’t want to apply because she was happy with her current position, also in the healthcare field. She interviewed to please her friend, and was offered the job. Despite her reservations, she accepted the position, to find three months later she was diagnosed with cancer. She added, “It seemed like I was supposed to be at Hospice of Southern Illinois. My new job kept my mind busy and focused on new and positive things. The people I worked with were so caring and supportive. They answered my questions and treated me like a person, what they do every day.”
In her 17 years of work with us, Susan has enjoyed meeting all the volunteers with a variety of skills, interests, and talents. She genuinely enjoys the variety of people she has come to know! Susan has helped to establish, recruit, maintain and grow our outstanding volunteer team. She created the volunteer manual to ensure quality, history and consistency of our volunteers continues for years to come. Additionally, she participated in many other community projects and events which she hopes to continue in her volunteering with us.
After her last day at Hospice of Southern Illinois, she will not kick back and relax as you might assume. Susan will be starting a company, Friends and Family Connected. It will connect friends and families using media, technology, resources and the arts to offer one-on-one access to better communication and personal relationships. However, she does plan to do some traveling and continue her 2nd “bucket list” which some include: visiting the Peeps Factory on New Year’s Eve and seeing the 85 lbs. peep they drop, OZtoberfest in Kansas, and visit Strayboots Spots, an online scavenger hunt community with food and sightseeing recommendations, across the country. Susan wanted to leave us with one thing as she opens this new chapter, “Never forget the people. It always needs to be about the people. Yes, for sure the patients and their families, but also your co-workers, strangers, and anyone. Always make it about people.” We wish her the very best, only to say, “see you later,” as we know we will be seeing her often after her retirement. Congratulations Susan!