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  • Hospice of the Chesapeake volunteer Gayle Bremer received her Volunteer of the Month certificate from Inside Sales Support Megan Shenton.
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Hospice of the Chesapeake volunteer Gayle Bremer received her Volunteer of the Month certificate from Inside Sales Support Megan Shenton.

Gayle Bremer Comes Full Circle With Hospice Of The Chesapeake

Maya Pottiger
Maya Pottiger's picture
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January 10, 2018

Gayle Bremer had been searching for somewhere to volunteer when she stumbled upon Hospice of the Chesapeake.

She loaded the Anne Arundel County Volunteer Center website and saw a page about the Honor Salute program.

“I had been looking for a while, and when that page opened with Honor Salute, I read about it and my heart kind of stopped,” Bremer said. “I thought, ‘Finally, I found something that really resonates.’”

Bremer volunteers in the areas of patient care and veterans at Hospice of the Chesapeake. As a veteran herself, this organization really spoke to her.

“There were so many times that I thought, ‘I wish I had somebody at the other end,’ especially when I first started,” Bremer said.

Bremer served in the Air Force from 1979 to 1999, during which she served in the International Guard and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

After completing her service, Bremer moved to Severna Park. She said Hospice of the Chesapeake helped her “feel some kind of involvement and surrounded by community or family,” as Bremer’s family lives in California.

One of Bremer’s most personal moments while volunteering was when she was helping a patient who had Alzheimer’s.

“My mother had Alzheimer’s in California, and she just recently passed,” Bremer said. “So when I helped the Alzheimer’s patients here, I felt like I was working with her at the same time.”

Though she does not have a single favorite part of volunteering with Hospice, Bremer highlighted the weekend-long camp for grieving children. It is one weekend in August every summer, and children are in a safe space where they can share their experiences and understand they are not alone.

“That is just so life-changing to be a part of that volunteer effort,” Bremer said. “You see the impact on the kids. I get the chills just talking about it.”

Another service Bremer highlighted is the Veteran-to-Veteran program. It pairs veteran volunteers with veteran patients to allow the patients to share stories from their time serving.

“A quarter of their patients are veterans, and it’s really therapeutic and it’s really healing to the patient to be able to tell and share some of their stories they’ve kept inside for so long, afraid to tell them,” Bremer said. “Even their spouse might not know some of the things they’ve buried. It’s very healing to be able to draw that out before their time.”

Bremer said Hospice is always looking for more veteran volunteers to be part of the program.

Outside of Hospice of the Chesapeake, Bremer volunteers at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church. She signs up for various events, like sewing for the homeless during the church’s annual Winter Relief fundraiser.

In addition, Bremer and her husband have spent the last year working to open a dementia facility in Anne Arundel County.

“We really, really need it,” Bremer said. “A facility for not just assisted living with a dementia wing, but just dementia. It’s so important.”

Bremer said Hospice of the Chesapeake is the best thing that’s happened to her.

“It just kind of clicked, and I just wanted more of it. I wanted to help more,” Bremer said. “It does go full circle. It helped me with my mother when she passed because I knew from helping others go on that journey in their life that it was going to be OK.”

Hospice of the Chesapeake’s next event is its Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day event on March 29 at the BWI Hilton.

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