Afton Shepherd has volunteered for Horizon Hospice for over five years. When asked what drew her to hospice volunteering, she replied, "It went with my nursing experience of 50 years." She continued, "It's been very rewarding. I've met some fantastic people, but I do believe that Mrs. C takes the cake. Every time I go to see her, she looks the same and her house is immaculate. She's quite the lady." Mrs. C is the wife of one of the clients that Afton visited faithfully. She would drive Mrs. C, who is nearly blind from muscular degeneration, to her weekly hair appointment before going to spend time with the patient. She'd then bring Mrs. C back home from her appointment. Afton continues to check in with Mrs. C on occasion.
Afton recalled other patients. "I was at S's house from nine to four every Thursday. I was a sounding board for him to get rid of his anger about the Korean War. The VA chaplain and I spent a lot of time with him. It was good to know he'd made peace with the Lord."
“I also remember a 98 year old that I visited. I looked out the back door and asked if she'd ever raised stock back there. She said no, I've just raised heck!"
Afton also helped with a young patient in foster care who came on our service at 18 months of age and died just after turning three. As an RN she was able to take care of the tube feedings and medication that the baby needed while the family attended Wednesday worship. This family particularly touched Afton's heart.
Afton has also touched a few hearts. In at least three years, maybe more, the only time that she has turned down a request to visit a patient was when she was leaving town to visit her sister who was ill.
Afton, who is missing three fingers of her right hand, is definitely not the type to dwell on what she cannot do. If she was still able to play the violin, there is no doubt that she would be offering music to those she cares for. As it is, she simply stays focused on what she can do for others and she does it with a light in her eyes and a ready quip to bring a smile to anyone's face.