January Make a Difference Award: Darla Lewis with Kindred Hospice

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – When a loved one is dying we want the very best care for them. We want them to be comfortable and we want them to have dignity.

But sometimes the best medicine is just companionship.

That is why Darla Lewis is January’s Make a Difference award winner. She shows friendship to the terminally ill in the Wabash Valley

Darla Lewis had tears in her eyes when we surprised her with January’s Make a Difference award. You see, she is usually the one showing kindness to others.

But on this day, a little kindness was shown back with a pat on the back from her peers for her huge heart and compassion.

Darla is a volunteer with Kindred Hospice in Terre Haute.

She visits with hospice patients like 86-year-old Gerhart Verseman. Spending time with him and his wife Rosalie, becoming part of the family in time of need.

“Darla is an absolute blessing to our hospice organization,” explained Kelly McMillen who nominated Darla. “She is a volunteer for us for Kindred Hospice. Last year alone from February to December Darla donated over 400 hours of her own time with no compensation, no reimbursement for gas. She does it out of the kindness of her own heart.”

Darla used to teach special education and she said she had a void in her heart that she just couldn’t fill.

“So I thought maybe if I try Hospice and sure enough I’m happy as a lark,” Darla told us.

And so are her patients. Darla says most of the time she’s just a friend to these families. She visits once or twice a week just to talk or play games.

Companionship that often works better than modern medicine.

“Their heart gets lifted and they don’t have to think oh I’m hurting or don’t feel good,” Darla said.

We asked Darla how many hours a week she visits the terminally ill and she replied with, “How many ever it takes.”

And her patients live all over the valley, from Vigo to Clay and Sullivan to Greene counties. She gets to know these people like family.

Being there for them in perhaps their greatest time of need, filling their hearts with kindness.

Filling Darla’s heart at the same time.

“Just the joy that somebody cares. People doing nice things for other people.”

If you know someone who deserves a Make a Difference award, check out this link.