Passing the torch

Hospice bereavement coordinator Radecki stepping down and Bevevino steps up

Times Observer photo by Lorri Drumm A “changing of the guards” is taking place at Hospice of Warren County. Vonnie Radecki (right) is retiring from her position as bereavement coordinator of The Schorman Center effective Jan. 31. Jodi Bevevino (left) has accepted the position.

A transition in leadership is happening within Hospice of Warren County but those within the local nonprofit are confident the torch is being passed effortlessly.

Vonnie Radecki has been involved with Hospice of Warren County for 12 years, serving as a volunteer for seven years and moving into the position of bereavement coordinator for The Schorman Center. Radecki is retiring from that position effective Jan. 31.

Jodi Bevevino has accepted the position. She also started as a volunteer with the organization. “I’ve lost track of how many years I’ve served,” Bevevino said. She estimated she’s been involved for about nine years.

“Being involved with Hospice has been a life-changing experience for me,” Radecki said. She may be retiring from a job, but she doesn’t intend to leave her passion behind. “I’m going to maintain a casual employment status,” she said. “I’ll remain connected.”

The Schorman Center is a fairly new initiative that operates under the umbrella of Hospice in order to provide bereavement services, according to Lisa To, executive director of Hospice of Warren County.

“We offer free grief counseling to children and adults who have experienced death,” To said.

Grief support is available with or without a connection to Hospice, Radecki said. “Many people think our services are only available to those who have lost someone who received care from Hospice,” she said. “Our grief and bereavement services are free to anyone who has experienced a loss.”

The services provided by The Schorman Center include; individual and group support, pet loss, grief yoga, suicide support, a lending library and a four-week workshop with a set curriculum, according to Radecki.

Bevevino added that counselors also travel to schools and businesses to provide one-on-one and group support. “Sometimes there can be a sudden loss in a school or workplace,” she said. “We can help people in that setting or here at our office.”

The Schorman Center also offers a grief camp in August called “Camp Forget-Me-Not. “It’s a day camp for ages 7 to 17,” Radecki said. “The mascot is an elephant, based on the premise that an elephant never forgets.”

Bevevino said she is looking forward to serving in her new role and incorporating her experience as a compliance officer into the job. “Hospice has always been near and dear to my heart,” she said. “Health care regulations are constantly changing, so I’m accustomed to that.”