Faith Volunteers at Wesley Homes

Wesley Homes Health Center has been blessed with many volunteers over the years. These “faith volunteers” are devoted to bringing joy and entertainment to Health Center residents. Chaplain Michael (Mike) Byrd at Wesley Homes Des Moines counsels and guides families as they grieve, celebrate and find hope after the passing of a loved one. Mike doesn’t provide this ministry alone. He has several faith volunteers that freely give their time and talents. Compassion, generous spirit and the gifts of comfort are common attributes among them. Jean Cruz provided 13 years of dedicated service as a nurse at Wesley Homes Health Center. She now serves as a Catholic Eucharistic minister at Saint Philomena in Des Moines. Jean, along with five other Eucharistic ministers, volunteers her time serving communion to residents in worship services and to room-bound residents. She is honored to serve communion at The Gardens, The Terrace and the Health Center. She finds volunteering extremely rewarding and enjoyable. “I’m just the messenger,” said Jean. “I’m happy to be the messenger to bring communion to those who are sick and disabled. What I do, I do for the glory of God.” Some volunteers are local ministers. Bill Asher, pastor at First Baptist Church of Des Moines, “demonstrates compassion and understanding – he just gives and gives,” said Mike. Bill provides pastoral care to Wesley Homes’ residents in two ways. He fills the pulpit for services once every three months at the Health Center. He also makes incredible jam. In fact, Bill makes over 3,000 jars of jam ea Chaplain Mike Byrd, Wilma Johnson and Lola Lawson ch year, which he freely gives to residents and staff. You don’t have to be a pastor to be a volunteer. Lois Sheppherd is a fine example. Lois shares her gift by playing piano twice a month at services at the Health Center in the Gardens Court dementia care unit and in the Evergreen Room. Lois loves playing hymns for chapel services. “Playing piano is something I am able to bring to the residents and staff, and I enjoy playing and singing,” said Lois. “The gift of music is a blessing,” Mike said. “Lois has that gift as well as a spirit of gentleness. She does a fantastic job and is a great gift to our residents and to me as the chaplain.” Wesley Homes Des Moines residents Lola Lawson and Wilma Johnson have also brought music to the memory care unit. They have faithfully played the piano and sung hymns for over 15 years. Our faith volunteers are essential to the Chaplain and residents of Wesley Homes Health Center. We are grateful for the service of all of our volunteers and acknowledge the additional support of the following: Roy Noren, Sunday Vesper Service Rev. Perry Raak, Sunday Vesper Service Rollie and Verla Hoke, 28-year volunteers John Hill, 28-year volunteer Joyce Symons, 28-year volunteer Steve Franklin and Bill Povoloh, Sunday Vesper Service   By Steve Whitaker