RSVP-VSA Nominee: Mary Beth Cockerham

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In the past year, Mary Beth has dedicated over 230 hours of service to Capital Caring Health, an organization dedicated to providing patients and their families with advanced illness care of the highest quality.

Mary Beth’s dedication to Capital Caring Health is best summed up in the word of Kathrine Knoble, Manager, Community and Volunteer Engagement:

The profound impact of one person – Mary Beth is the perfect example of how one person’s good acts can positively impact large numbers of people and motivate others to do good. It is mind-blowing to me that Mary Beth has only been with Capital Caring Health for 13 months. Mary Beth has helped to develop our “Tuck In” program, which is a program that provides touchpoint calls to patients/caregivers each week.  Each month, Mary Beth is making about a hundred calls and then follows up with our clinical team to meet the care needs of our patients. Our nursing and social work team value the detailed care Mary Beth provides.  She has also been a teacher, mentor and lead volunteer for the tuck in program. Mary Beth helps other volunteers as a member of a team of 3 specialized volunteers who spearhead a support team to other volunteers who might have questions or need support with the tuck in process. Mary Beth’s involvement in our bereavement program has helped those who are on the grief journey. She shows remarkable compassion and understanding.  Our bereavement counselor raves about the impact Mary Beth is making in supporting our grieving families.  If that weren’t enough, Mary Beth volunteers in many other initiatives and programs within Capital Caring Health including deliveries, friendly calls, staff support, elf squad, cupid crew and pediatric programs.

Mary Beth delivered valentines gifts as a member of the Cupid Crew in addition to dressing up as a turkey to deliver Thanksgiving meals. It was heartwarming to witness Mary Beth delivering a Thanksgiving meal to a caregiver who she also makes weekly tuck in calls. The caregiver has come to rely on Mary Beth’s weekly calls and was thrilled to meet her in person.  Mary Beth has a genuine nature, which is comforting for caregivers and patients.  Mary Beth supports our pediatric patients by delivering items such as baby quilts, flowers to the parents and helping a family celebrate with a drive by Santa on a firetruck.  Mary Beth delivers flowers to our patients, brings birthday cakes and care packages too.  Her dedication to helping those facing food insecurities helps to provide groceries and other needed items to patients.  She constantly goes above and beyond, and she is the perfect example of a volunteer.

Mary Beth is an advocate for Capital Caring Health and as such helps us spread the word regarding advanced illness care. The “H” (hospice) word is still very scary for people, Mary Beth helps to educate others in the community about the benefits of hospice services.  Her advocacy reduces fears and increases understanding, which will ultimately help others receive support they need when facing a life limiting illness in their families.  Beyond Capital Caring Health, Mary Beth serves her community by supporting Food Rescue DC where she picks up and delivers extra food from corporate offices and cafeterias like National Geographic to senior centers and shelters.  She also addresses food insecurity in Alexandria with support of Alexandria Community Alliance where she coordinated 20-25 drivers for food deliveries 2X/week and made deliveries herself once a week.  Mary Beth has also volunteered to help the Alexandria annual toy drive, collecting toys from donors, helping with giant sorting effort right before Christmas. For the Senior Olympics, she was a pickleball official and swim meet timer. For Food & Friends, she helped with pie sales/pick up before Thanksgiving. She also volunteered to help Green Spring Gardens with weeding.  On the horizon, Mary Beth will be joining the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps, lending a hand as the COVID vaccine drives expand in capacity and doing her part to get shots in arms!

Mary Beth’s empathy has warmed the hearts of many. As Knoble wrote above- Hospice can be scary.

Thank you, Mary Beth for lending support in times that are tough. We are honored to have you as a member of AmeriCorps Seniors.

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