I was surprised at how useful I found the grief support class to be. It was good to be in the presence of those who allowed you to cry and not make them uncomfortable; who allowed you to say out loud what was in your heart. Letting us show a photo towards the end was heartwarming and compassionate. You could always count on a hug.

Linda Blair

Gentle Shepherd Grief Support has truly been a “life-support” for me since the death of my husband two years ago. Martha, Kathy, and Staff provide a culture of information, caring, listening, and generosity. I so deeply appreciate the spiritual guidance and environment, as well as a safe place to fall, to talk, to cry, and even to laugh together.

I would highly encourage anyone suffering loss to join us for, not just one or two visits, but at least  a month or two to decide if this fits you. Remember, each day is different. So come join us and become a member of our family. You will be blessed by these ladies and guided into learning how to live your new life.

When I didn’t know where to turn or what to do – I was directed to Gentle Shepherd and I thank God every day for this wonderful opportunity to improve my life surrounded by loving and gentle folks who care so much. I do not know what I would have done without Gentle Shepherd.


Nancy Gillespie

I am so thankful for Gentle Shepherd Hospice for the many services they provided to help our family cope with the difficulties of my husband’s illness. They were always there when I needed them and knew exactly what to do. They were attentive, prepared us for what to expect, and brought hope and compassion into a very difficult situation.

The bereavement services were especially invaluable to me as they helped me cope with the two deepest losses of my life, my husband, and my sister three years prior. The professional counseling services offered each week provided a safe avenue to walk through the unknown places that mourners travel.

Gentle Shepherd Hospice provided to me what hospice is all about, and that is “a place of rest for weary travelers”. I am deeply grateful for the tender loving care they provided all of our family.

I would highly recommend Gentle Shepherd Hospice to anyone in need of hospice services.

Claire Natt

What friends we have in the staff of Gentle Shepherd Hospice! June is always supportive of our events, provides excellent education for training sessions or in-services whenever we need, and brings Little Blue to our annual family fun day and to visit residents. When our residents need hospice, we often call on Gentle Shepherd, since they provide excellent care in partnering with us when hospice is needed. From nurses, social workers, chaplains, community outreach staff, and more, you can count on Gentle Shepherd to provide good care and customer service. Thank you for being a friend of Heritage Green Assisted Living.

Heather Pippen
Executive Director
Heritage Green Communities – Lynchburg

Good news is meant to be shared, and it is with a grateful heart that I share the good news of GriefShare.

After my husband’s untimely death in a car crash in July, 2010, the very fiber of who I was and professed to be was put to the test. Faith, family, and friends sustained me, but eventually I realized I needed something more. I cried out in desperation to a friend who said, “I want to take you with me to GriefShare”. I have come to understand that GriefShare literally saved my life emotionally.

The next twenty-six Tuesday mornings I traveled to the Gentle Shepherd Hospice GriefShare group meetings in Lynchburg, VA, where I was fed physically, emotionally and spiritually. Group members quickly became “family”, and facilitators became cherished navigators through my journey of grief. Warm hugs, genuine concern and wise counsel helped me regain the sanity I was sure I had lost. Romans 8:28 became my motto.

Now, almost two years later, I am helping to facilitate a GriefShare group in my local church as I respond to a favorite GriefShare quote: “We are to be conduits of comfort not containers.” We are in our fifth cycle and helping to groom one member who feels the Lord calling her to start a GriefShare group in her church some thirty miles away.

I am totally dedicated to GriefShare because I know firsthand what a powerful life-changing ministry
it is.

Anne Jones

Kudos to June Harvie-McNamara’s Work with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Eight months ago I began a search for information to help me help a family member who had just been diagnosed with early stage dementia. Since I do not live near him I was looking for any kind of information I could find that would allow me to help that family member’s caregiver.

I teach at Lynchburg College and was intrigued when I heard about an all-day workshop on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease that was being offered at Lynchburg College, co-hosted by June Harvie-McNamara and Denise Scruggs, and sponsored by the Beard Center on Aging at Lynchburg College. I signed up for the workshop with a close friend whose mother suffered from Alzheimer’s and that decision began a wonderful journey of hope for helping not only our family members but also others locally and through family networks.

The presentation was clear, informative, and organized and I found June and Denise to be very supportive. From that moment on I asked June to make me aware of any and all opportunities open to the public that addressed the needs of those suffering from dementia in general, and Alzheimer’s, specifically. She maintained contact with me and I was able to attend another one of her sessions at a local retirement/assisted living facility and was again impressed.

My plan is to keep taking advantage of every opportunity to learn more about these illnesses and I know that June’s training will form an important part of that process for me. Her knowledge is solid and her presentation style makes the sessions both informative and interactive. I’m grateful for her help.

Dr. Sharon D. Robinson

Dear Gentle Shepherd Hospice Board of Directors,

I am writing in regards to services I am currently receiving from your “family”.

First, let me explain my referring to you as a “family”. I have had the honor, yes honor, of receiving my services from people who I have grown to care about deeply. The “staff” as you would call them, who have been in my home, have been more than employees/caretakers to/for me. I have been blessed with Marcia T., Sonja G., and Pastor Bryan W. for my “new family of choice”.

I’ll start with Sonja, as she was the first person I met when I became “needy” of your services. I had heard many good things already, through many friends, who had used several of the area hospice providers, so I clearly had a hard decision to make. I asked my Doctor who she would choose if it were her…while reluctant to “name any one in particular” because, as she explained, this really needed to be my decision…she spoke of a few, with high regard, and I settled “happily” (considering the circumstances) with GSH.

Sonja arrived later that very afternoon! I was surprised how quickly everything fell into place. I “clicked” if you will, with Sonja immediately. She had an essence about her that put me at ease. She was and continues to be a great source of knowledge in her chosen field of Social Services…. I have always felt comfortable with whatever suggestions she offered, that were then put into place. I knew whatever services she offered would be in my best interest. Sonja, continues to see me on a regular basis and I always look forward to her visits with much love and respect in my heart! She always has time for me, allowing for whatever amount of time I may need, within reason, to discuss my concerns or for that matter, the needs of my family. Sonja went on to set up counseling services for my husband and other family members in need of them. My husband has had, as you can imagine, a very difficult time dealing with my illness. His counseling sessions have been of great support and comfort for him! Needless to say, our world has been turned upside down…and will never be the same again. Not only are we dealing with my illness but as well we have lost my mom and his brother unexpectedly recently…and the true empathy of the “GSH family” has been amazing. Sonja never leaves my home without a beautiful and meaningful prayer time…This means so very much to me.

Next, Marica T. RN, walked through my door, just as Sonja was finishing up with me. Again, I am certain some people may not click with everyone that they meet, but the Good Lord blessed me once again with Marcia. Again her knowledge & skills exceed anything I could have expected. She is very thorough with her “assessment” of my physical and emotional needs. She is one of a kind as well. She listens to my every concern and days when all I can do is cry….she lets me do that and encourages me to let it loose. I have met several of the nurses, through Marcia’s vacation time, her training “new angels” coming on board with GSH, etc. and yet again, Marcia does not leave until ALL of my questions and concerns are addressed. Personally, I keep a journal, at Marcia’s suggestion, for her to read and see how every day has been…and this has been a great resource for all of us involved… She too always takes time to pray with me, which for me personally is a Godsend! She is truly my angel in “white”. She has my love and respect for all she does to keep me comfortable through a very
difficult time.

Lastly, Pastor Brian came by. I believe he waited and came the next day and only after calling me to see if I was interested in having him come by for some Pastoral counsel. I have my “own” church/ Pastor and hear from Pastor Ken of Fellowship Community Church often, but let me say that Pastor Brian is so caring and so very special to me. On a visit early into my care, I wanted so much to hear an old familiar song from my church in Illinois. I could only give him the chorus of the song….nothing else…my memory had let me down when it came to the name of it. The following week, Pastor Brian called and asked if there would be a good time for him to come by. I said of course….anytime. Within the hour, he showed up and in his hands he held a single piece of paper, with the words to the song…THE HYMN OF PROMISE…not only did he bring me the words, but SANG the song to me…the tears flowed freely that day…he will never ever know what he did for me….I could never properly thank him…

As you can see, the journey that I am currently on, I have given to, first and most importantly, My Dear Lord Jesus Christ, and then to “my” Gentle Shepherd Hospice family. They continue to more than meet my needs and are a blessing truly for myself, family, and even some of my dearest friends, who take turns “babysitting” me…LOL. A big bonus for me is that they (GSH) all never leave my home without a prayer with me, and whoever may be here with me at the time. These days are very difficult to say the least and some days the pain has me not thinking clearly at all…my ” GSH family” is always looking for ways to improve my comfort through this journey…they are my inspiration…my hope and my life is literally in their hands by MY choice! I am happy to say that if given the chance to do it all over again….I wouldn’t change a thing…not ONE thing! Kudos to my group of folks that care for me…..Obviously, they are who they all are because of their upbringing and just in general who they have become over a period of time. I am indeed blessed through and by each and every one of them! These folks will be with me quite literally ’til the end…through MY wishes! My sincerest thank you goes out to the owners/administrators of GSH…because they hand pick these folks in their hiring process…I have the level of service I have…Keep up the excellent work GSH….your patients and their families are counting on you to.

My sincerest thanks & may God Bless you and your families, each and every one!

“Angels encourage us by guiding us onto a path that will lead to happiness and hope.”
Andy Lakey

I want to say thank you for the Easter “basket” I received. It was very thoughtful and very much so unexpected. I appreciate all the kindness, dedication, and compassion of your staff. The professionalism of your staff that works with me goes beyond anything I could have imagined. I pray you all have a wonderful Easter. GOD BLESS!

Teri Burks & Family

Dear GSH Staff,

I am writing to express my gratitude for all of the outstanding care, compassion and concern your staff provided my Mom, Joyce Pasquale. When I visited her at the Runk & Pratt-Smith Mountain Lake facility and had the opportunity to meet with some of those involved in her care, I could tell that everyone did their best to make Mom comfortable and make sure she received the medical help she needed.

I’ll be forever grateful for the care your staff gave my Mom and for the peace of mind it gave to me, being so far away. I really appreciated the updates I received on her condition. Please pass along my sincerest thanks and best wishes to all the caring people who worked with my Mom.

Daniel Pasquale

Dear Gentle Shepherds,

At a moment when my heart was sad and my mind was totally confused, I was given your love and guidance. Gentle Shepherd gave me peace of mind to devote myself to my husband.

It was wonderful that Chaplain Brian Whited was able to come to Hal’s bedside to read to him from the Bible. And, even more beautiful was his singing the hymn How Great Thou Art for him.

That was so special to us that we chose the same hymn as our main hymn at his service.

Thank you for helping me through this very sad time, I will never forget you.

Also, thank you for the books What to Expect and Time to Grieve. I will share them with others.

Ruth G. Berge

Gentle Shepherd Hospice:
• I’m on blood thinners (coumadin) and it requires blood samples to be taken every month. Hospice allows me to give blood at home so I do not have to go into the Doctor’s office lab every month.

• Hospice offers a 24/7 call-in opportunity for any questions I have.

• Gentle Shepherd is very accommodating in any preference for time of visit.

• Very knowledgeable nurses visit my home.

Action Plan:
• A very complete, thorough, and accurate check-up is provided each visit to watch for trends on degradation in health status.

Team Approach:
• In addition to a nurse, I see a social worker and a minister.

Donald Atkinson

The nurses at Gentle Shepherd Hospice and my Doctor have all been wonderful. All those ladies are top drawer! They rate a 500% with me!

The Nurses keep me going, they talked to my doctor and kept my medications all straight. Dr. Green took over my care and asked me “How would you like to start with Gentle Shepherd Hospice? How would you like a visit with them?” She never told me I had 6 months right out so I wasn’t scared. Before hospice I was told that I had 6 months but I’m still here! They have steadied me.

Kim came out and took care of me right away, that delightful young girl came and massaged my legs and feet. Anytime I called her she came and Peggy came at night. When I had any problems Ruby was great! When I was having chest pains Ruby would get me in my recliner and talk to me until I was calmed down. Jack the Chaplain comes every 2 weeks to see me.

Before Gentle Shepherd I was going to the hospital once a month with chest pains. Since GSH I haven’t had to go to hospital but once.

The doctor’s work with GSH so well, and I would recommend Gentle Shepherd Hospice to anyone! I’m here today because of hospice.

Mr. Paul Peck

I have been trying to get a note off to you for several days, but something always intervened. Today your letter, along with “A Time to Grieve” arrived in the mail, and I became determined to complete my task before the day is over.

My daughter, Nancy, and I just can’t say enough about the loving care your nurses and volunteers provided for my dear wife, Jan. From the moment we were introduced to your organization through Missy Stultz, we had a feeling of loving concern, compassion, and care that brought great comfort to us and our family. Everything that happened after that only supported that feeling as your nurses and volunteers came to check her condition and tend to her needs. Her comfort was obviously foremost, and it was achieved, to the end.

Our family interests were also carefully supported and respected. It is not always easy working around concerned family, but that was never an issue and we appreciated that fact. We also noted how well your Hospice personnel and those of Our Lady of the Valley coordinated their efforts, multiplying the benefits for patients. Jan’s time with you all was short, but she was cared for in a most professional manner at all times.

Perhaps the best aspect was the continual up-dating of Jan’s condition and her treatments. Never did we feel that we were being left out of the loop, a source of much comfort for the family.

And so we want to express our heartfelt thanks to Gentle Shepherd Hospice and all to the team members who were assigned to care for Jan. She could not have been in better hands.

While our family is doing well in accepting and adjusting to this loss of a very deeply loved member, we are grateful that your organization is standing by, ready to assist us in any way, beyond the steps already taken.

Our special thanks and our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with all of you in your ministry of love to those in serious health needs.

Donald C. Bruster