Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Tom Schipper

Wings: Tell us a little about yourself.

Tom: I am 64 years old, married to my wife of 45 years. I am now retired and have been retired since March of 2020. I live on a small farm that I was born and raised on. In my working years I have worked as a wood worker, mechanic, farmer, paramedic, firefighter, janitor, meter reader, gas pipeline welder, bus driver, RV delivery person. As you can see, I am a Jack of all trades and master of none.

Wings: How long have you been volunteering with Wings?

Tom: I have been volunteering with Wings of Hope since 2006.

Wings: How did you get started?

Tom: I had recently retired from being a street medic on an ambulance and really missed the patient care. A lady from our church had given a presentation on seeking volunteers for Wing of Hope Hospice and it sounded like a good fit for me. I had experienced Hospice taking care of some family members and believed it would be a great way to help others and fill the void in my life of missing patient care.

Wings: What motivates you to serve at Wings Home?

Tom: I have experienced much loss in my life. My father died when I was 17 and my son died when I was 38. I have lost 3 brothers in laws to cancer and a 19-year-old nephew. I have seen how Hospice can make such a difference to so many people and I want to be part of that. It really helps me keep life in the proper perspective when I choose to help others. It reminds me how blessed I am each day with the abundant life God has given me.

Wings: What’s your favorite thing about volunteering?

Tom: My favorite thing is to care for people and their families. There is no greater reward for me than to help a patient and their family in need, to help them have quality time spent in the final days of life.

Wings: What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering?

Tom: I would tell those who are considering volunteering to really think about how at the wings home they are able to make a difference in someone’s life for true goodness. Each shift my goal is to make sure that people feel cared for, that no one dies alone and to help create a place where family members and friends can share love in a place of peace.

Wings: What is a favorite Wings Home memory?

Tom: My favorite memory is a day where my wife and I were able to care for someone that we knew. She was a lady that we had not seen for some time, and we did not know that she had terminal cancer. This was a day when she had shown much improvement from previous days. This woman was having a rally day. She was doing very well with minimal pain and was able to share much quality time with many family members. We were working the afternoon shift on this Sunday. It was later in the afternoon, and I was checking in on the patient. She was very tired taking a nap in her bed with her teenage granddaughter napping beside her in her bed. Her son was sleeping in a recliner next to her bed. It was a perfect picture of peace in a very unpeaceful life because of the cancer. On that day the cancer didn’t win. It was a day that I felt so fortunate to be part of. The patient died the next morning. In my mind this memory is an example of what hospice is all about.

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