What My Hospice means is different to each individual and family we serve. For Volunteer Manager Angel Gregory, it means working with volunteers to create special, one-of-a-kind treasures for bereaved families.

Village Hospice began serving a patient on Christmas Eve; he died on Christmas Day, surrounded by a loving family. In February, our Bereavement Counselor, Karen, brought in two of the patient’s monogrammed oxford shirts to me. One of my volunteers lovingly transforms pieces of clothing into Memory Bears for bereaved families. The only request was to somehow use the monogrammed sections on the bears.

Later that day, Karen jokingly mentioned that somehow including Jack Daniels on the Memory Bears would be a fun tribute. She shared that the owner of the shirts had been a devoutly religious and professional man, but he loved to indulge in the occasional single shot of Jack. Furthermore, the family has decided to honor his memory by taking a single shot of the whiskey every Christmas, at the moment of his passing.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to surprise the family, and immediately called the Jack Daniels company to ask if they might be able to send a patch. They loved the story, and sent us three – one for each bear, and one extra. “Just in case,” the representative said.

Then, our talented, self-titled Bearmeister volunteer created the bears, using the monogrammed pockets on the fronts of the bears and the patches on the back.

The patient’s spouse was overjoyed upon receiving the bears. In fact, she mentioned that she planned to sleep with both in her bed that night. When her family is finally able to visit once the Stay at Home order is removed, they’re in for quite a pleasant surprise.

Story Submitted by Angel Gregory, Volunteer Manager of Village Hospice in Lee’s Summit, MO.