The Sumter Pilot Club and Palmetto Health Tuomey honored local caregivers Wednesday with a luncheon and gifts during their third-annual Care and Kindness Caregivers program. Appreciation for the caregivers' dedication came from many quarters.
Pilot Mary Smith opened the program by summing up its purpose in an address to the caregivers: "You are all very special people. We have no idea the extent of what you do. ... Thank you very much."
Palmetto Health Tuomey Chaplain B.J. Drayton continued the expression of gratitude to the caregivers in her invocation, thanking God for their ability and willingness "to take care of our loved ones." She said their compassion and dedication gives us hope, and "hope lifts us up and gives us perspective."
Susan Arrants, manager for Palmetto Health Tuomey Home Health Services, expressed gratitude from her staff's perspective, noting that "we see firsthand what you do for our patients. Without you, they could not be at home. You play a vital role."
Arrants quoted Bryan Tracy: "In life, everyone is carrying a heavy load. You help alleviate the burden everyone is carrying."
Pilot Carolyn Bishop-McLeod summed up the roles caregivers play, calling each by name and offering anecdotes about his or her service. She talked about their dedication in "keeping loved ones in their own homes allowing them to live with dignity helping them to bear the unbearable comforting them with care and love.
"Caring is such a wonderful gift from the heart. We do it because we love our family and other loved ones with health problems," she said. Caregiving "demands stamina and courage, with the caregiver paid only in intangibles."
Their "gentle and patient nurture gives us hope, gives people the experience of God."
Bishop-McLeod announced Palmetto Health Tuomey's nomination of Gail Boyle for the Caregiver Recognition Award for her dedication, care and kindness to those in the community, not just her family members.
Caregivers' "devotion, courage, sacrifice and unending love," Bishop-McLeod concluded, "allow us all to experience God."