LEWISTON – The stars turned out for Beacon Hospice’s first annual volunteer Appreciation Dinner held recently at the Ramada Inn’s Stage Door.

“The Beakee Awards – A Night of Honoring Beacon Hospice Volunteers” was fashioned after Hollywood’s traditional Oscars, complete with limousine, red carpet and paparazzi. After having their photos taken exiting the limousine and walking the red carpet, Beacon volunteers received traditional Oscar goodie bags and were seated at tables reserved for the parties of such famous celebrities as Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin. The volunteer “stars” were also asked to place their hand prints and autographs on a canvas to commemorate the evening.

Beacon’s vice president of business development, Bobbi Garvey, opened the evening with a welcoming address, thanking the “stars” for their overwhelming response to Beacon’s call for volunteers.

Following a sit-down meal and musical entertainment provided by Leighton Campbell, Beakee MC and Beacon’s volunteer coordinator, Donna Rousseau, introduced Stephanie Harriston-Diggs, director of volunteers for Beacon Hospice.

Harriston-Diggs, who traveled from Boston to attend the gala, delivered a message of gratitude to the volunteers, also remarking on the community’s openness to the volunteer hospice experience.

The evening’s highlight, however, was the presentation of the Beakee Awards. Beacon Hospice staff were on hand to read descriptions of each Beacon volunteer and his or her contribution to the hospice team and present each with a gift, pin and the Beakee.

Distinguished volunteers included Christine Foss, Nancy Reynolds, Janice Watkins, Sandra Lawrence, Linda Emond, Judith Ames, Charles Sifferman, Helene Bernier, Doris and Michael Pelletier, Paulette Crabtree, Barbara Daigle, Claudette Jutras, Helen Clark, Nita Harrington, Janet Cookson, Larralyn Berey, Tami Girardin, Donna Palmer, Deborah LaPerle, Janel Savage and Patty Hackett Mason.

“Quite seriously, it really was a night of the stars,” says Rousseau.

“Our volunteers truly shine in the work they do. I just cannot say enough about how proud I am of each and every one of them – how they have graced my life and those of the patients and families we serve. It really was an honor to treat them like the stars they are.”

According to Rousseau, several volunteers rose to the occasion. “Linda Emond came as Lauren Bacall and was in character all night,” said Rousseau. “And our mother-daughter team of Donna Palmer and Tami Girardin came as Professors McGonagle and Sprout, characters from the Harry Potter movies. Even Pocahontas, played by Janice Watkins, came out for the event.”

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