A special group of volunteers were honored last week during an appreciation event at Historic Latta Plantation.
Students, ages 4-5, from Here 2 Grow Preschool in Huntersville recently painted spring-themed pictures for area patients of Community Homecare & Hospice. For their effort, about 20 kids received a Governor's Student Excellence Award signed by Gov. Bev Perdue.
On the award, Perdue wrote "You are the voice of North Carolina's future and proof that people of any age can make a difference..."
The brightly colored pictures were filled with rainbows, flowers and balloons. The children said they hoped their artwork would simply make patients happy.
Ben Hilliard of Huntersville is the volunteer coordinator for Community Homecare & Hospice. He said gestures like this can make a world of difference and improve patients' quality of life.
"It takes their minds off what they're going through for a moment," he said. "When they see someone cares enough to do something like this, they know they're not alone."
The project came about because Hilliard's niece attends the Huntersville preschool. Hilliard asked one of its teachers if the students would be willing to do anything for the patients. The artwork project began shortly afterward and students have since created and given about 60 pieces of art to area hospice patients.
Community Homecare & Hospice has offices in Statesville, Monroe and other parts of North Carolina. It serves nearly 40 Charlotte-area patients and about 1,000 patients statewide and in Virginia and South Carolina.
The event was for the kids and their parents, but also for other volunteers, hospice patients and family members.
About 80 people attended the luncheon, which included a n educational presentation on reptiles, singing by preschoolers and pony rides.
Erleen Pachal of Charlotte attended with family members. Nurses of Community Homecare & Hospice helped care for Pachal's mother, who recently died at 107.
"They were a tremendous help to me," she said "They provided good moral support, and the quality of care provided by the nurses was thorough and sincere."
Budd Berro of Davidson handed out the students' awards. He is the director of the governor's Piedmont regional office, which got involved with the event to support hospice organizations and to recognize volunteerism.