Date: Jun, 24 2020
Barb started volunteering with Adoray from the very beginning, from being a Hospice Volunteer to a Treasures from the Heart Volunteer. She has touched every part of the heart and soul of our mission. Which is why we are so honored to share her story – a lifetime of helping people.
Barbara Jean Hess was born in Superior Wisconsin May 22, 1946. She was born to hard working parents and was the 4th child out of five.
Barb’s dad was an iron worker (welder) unafraid of heights and Barb’s mom was a fulltime mother and janitor for the schools. As a child Barb grew up in Hawthorne, fishing all seasons, and listening to Gary Moore, Arthur Godfrey, Amos and Andy while traveling to go fishing. Her favorite memories were driving on the ice on Lake Superior with her dad and siblings. Her dad would say, “Hold on to the door handle, in case we go thru the ice and you have to jump out!”, getting to their destination on the ice, chopping holes, bonfire, roasting hotdogs, and going to the Island to explore as her dad fished. Barb’s love for the elderly came somewhere in her childhood. When she finished chores at her home, she would go door to door in her neighborhood to see how she could help the elderly with chores at their homes. That is where her passion began for the love of helping people.
After Barb graduated from high school she began a job as a prep cook, in the beautiful town of Solon Springs while attending Antigo vocational school, where she met her husband Tom Sr. They were married 50 years. Was it love at first sight? She said, “No, I made him work for me!”, she said with a giggle. She loved married life and they were blessed with 3 beautiful children Tammy, Tom Jr., Tonya, and 4 wonderful grandchildren. Tom and Barb eventually moved to Hersey Wisconsin.
In 1983 they lost their house to a fire, than eventually moved to Star Prairie WI. Barb would reminisce often when she was cleaning and pricing items at the store that she had lost in the fire. She would always say, “Linda, things are replaceable, but my family isn’t, for that I am truly grateful!” Barb then began her employment in the housekeeping field at Parkview Nursing Home for 7 years then Holy Family for 7 years. She always shared stories of her favorites at both places and shared sweet stories of residents and patients. Her love for others was always evident in her heart.
Barb’s favorite passions besides helping others are God, Family, Baking, Canning, Cooking!
What was Barb’s most memorable experience? Getting married. She said, “ Everything was beautiful, perfect, in love, and everything she dreamed of on her wedding day!” Asked her was it easy? Barb said, “Heck no! That commitment you make that day is hard work, ups and downs, struggles, and happiness! That is what marriage is and would not have changed a thing about it!”
What was her most enduring memory of volunteering with Adoray? One time, she was visiting a hospice patient. The wife left to do some errands. The man put his hand on her leg, looked out the window. She put her hand on his hand, and he had a look of peace on his face. Barb said, “I know he passed to the other side that moment. I know he did. And I was so glad to be there to let him know it was okay, with my presence and my touch. I was so happy and humbled to be there! I will never forget that day as long as I live!”
What advice does she have for others? “Your bored, you don’t know what to do with your life? The answer is easy, there is somebody that has more pain than you, more struggles than you, poorer than you, whatever it is, go help them, volunteer! Find the passion in your heart and go reach out and do it!”
Now Barb is on Adoray’s Hospice herself. How does she feel about that? “I know my time is limited here on earth, and I know I need the help thru my journey with the assistance from Adoray. I so appreciate everything they do for me and the peace they give my family. For that, I am truly grateful!”
Barb, we have had so much laughter, friendship, sorrows, and dang it, just sometimes dang hard work! You have made a difference in Adoray’s life, Treasure’s life, Volunteer’s life, Patient’s lives, and the community. Thank you! Linda Booth (Baldwin 2 Treasures Manager) and the rest of the Adoray Family.
On May 22nd, in celebration of Barb’s birthday. Adoray brought her flowers and a bread maker with flour. Baking bread is a passion of Barbs and after our team found out hers had recently broke and was going to buy one from our Treasures from the Heart store. We new the perfect gift was to bring her one so she could keep doing what she loves.