A Truck Driver Makes Time to Volunteer with Hospice In Between Trips

David Jutte his rig

By Larry Kinneer
State of the Heart Hospice

David Jutte hardly fits the image of the typical hospice volunteer. Many who donate volunteer time to State of the Heart Hospice are retired individuals, and in many instances, the spouses of someone who was cared for by hospice caregivers.  Dave, a robust six foot five truck driver, manages to squeeze in his all-important hospice volunteering between over the road trips to Los Angeles and other points around the U.S.

“Volunteering does take time,” Dave admits, “but it is not a ‘have to’ type of thing. If I am available, they can always find something for me to do. Since I am home for several days between road trips, I have the opportunity to volunteer for hospice.”         

State of the Heart Hospice has cared for patients and families in eastern Indiana and western Ohio for almost 30 years.           

Dave’s journey to become a hospice volunteer began through the experience of losing four friends and family members over a span of three years.  He was personally involved in the care and attention to each of the four.

“I was there, close to them, and I watched what State of the Heart did for them,” Dave recalls.  “After I saw what hospice did for these individuals, I knew that hospice was a good thing and I wanted to be a part of it.” But like many plans “to do something” he let the idea drift a little, he admits           

It was shortly after the last of the four patients died that Dave was working in his garage at home when he heard a radio commercial seeking hospice volunteers.  “I was right by the phone and realized that if I was every going to volunteer, I had to do it now. So, I picked up the phone and dialed the phone number given.” 

That was over six years ago and he doesn’t regret his vow to help others in hospice care.  He delivers supplies to patient homes and sits with patients. In one instance, he sat with a male patient and was able to do some light repairs around the patient’s home.

Dave said he was impressed with the literature about hospice care that he read while visiting the four patients.  “I carefully read through the information and thought it was so helpful. Many people do not realize the process of death and what to expect.  Hospice prepares the family for every step of the way which is so helpful to them.”

Pauline Faller, State of the Heart Volunteer Coordinator, commented that “Dave is an excellent volunteer who is able to balance his job and give us his time. He truly is committed to hospice care.”  She added, that “Dave proves that you can volunteer and not feel you are over committed or you have to give so many hours.  Dave realizes he can give when he has the time which is important for all volunteers to realize. You can choose to volunteer as much as you want to, and determine what you want to do.”

“I can’t think of many reasons why a person would feel this was a big deal in your routine,” Dave said.  “When I complete a few hours of volunteering for hospice, I feel a sense of peace with my efforts, and feel good that I have been able to help. And, the best thing is that I feel no pressure to do what I do.”