Like many of the leaves on our front range trees, TRU’s Fall 2022 Newsletter has dropped! Inside, you’ll find the story of a mother-son volunteer duo at the Thrift Shop, a reflection on where we came from as we celebrate caring for 1,000 people each day, a palliative care patient with lessons for us all in her garden, and more.
We are pleased to announce today that Scott Gresser will assume the permanent role of President and CEO. Scott served as TRU’s Interim CEO the past four months after the departure of former President and CEO, Michael McHale. He has also been TRU’s CFO for the past ten years. Prior to joining the organization’s staff, Scott served more than five years on TRU’s Board of directors and held leadership positions in the publishing and broadcasting industries for 20 years.
“We are excited about this opportunity, both for Scott and for TRU. Scott brings a wealth of knowledge and devotion, and he is surrounded by talented leaders who will support his efforts to fulfill TRU’s mission and goals,” said Michael Lammers, TRU Board chair.
Working closely with Michael McHale since 2017, Scott has played a significant role in TRU’s recent success and transformation. Over the past five years, TRU has quadrupled the number of people in the community served by TRU programs, grown staff commensurately in order to do so, and more than tripled annual revenue.
Scott shares, “We’ve made tremendous strides these past few years, evolving significantly in an ever-changing healthcare landscape, and I am honored to continue to do this work and serve our community. I am proud every day I come to work at TRU.”
Recent milestones for TRU include the growth of TRU Tele-Care, a robust telehealth program that facilitates remote patient monitoring, vital sign data uploads, communication, and education; and the acquisition of Landmark Memory Care, a provider of care for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
TRU’s Spring 2022 Newsletter is out with some of the latest on what’s been happening in the TRUniverse!
In this issue, we celebrate volunteers and veterans, bid farewell to former CEO and President Michael McHale, and more.
Check it out here.
What can be done to help people who are dying? This question was posed to Dr. Darvin Smith by Beau Bohart Rezendes (then known as Beau Bohart), who was just finishing her Ph.D. dissertation on death and dying. His thought-provoking response was the beacon that pointed the way for Beau. Before long, she was speaking with anyone who would listen about starting a hospice in Boulder County.
In the early days, the small founding group met in living rooms; they stored donations in a cigar box; they paid their own way to hospice care conferences. Despite such humble beginnings, they never wavered in their steadfast commitment to the cause, and by early 1977, Boulder County Hospice was incorporated as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.
Its all-volunteer management team was comprised of the dedicated professionals who have come to be known as our founders, led by Beau Bohart Rezendes, then the executive director. Our first patient received hospice care in June of 1977. Thanks to one provocative question and five remarkable visionaries, the organization that has grown to become TRU Community Care was born.
More About the Beau Award
In the early 1990s, the board of directors at Boulder Hospice (now TRU Community Care) created the “Beau Award,” presented annually to a patient/family volunteer whose efforts are noted as extraordinary.
TRU’s patient/family volunteers provide direct support to hospice and palliative care patients and families. They offer companionship, respite, comfort touch, and more. They will sit vigil, run errands, provide pet therapy, and perform music… almost anything the patient or family needs. These volunteers assist in giving the best emotional, spiritual, and practical support available at a critical time. Some early Beau Award recipients include Cicely Kane (1992), Nancy Sisson (1993), Fred Schulerud (1994), Sharon Lee (1995), Barbara Mullen (1996), Mary Kay Jones (1997), Mary Liebler (1998), and Ruth Posehl (1999).
We are honored to “bring back” the Beau Award in 2022 and will be announcing this year’s recipient at our Volunteer Appreciation Celebration on Wednesday, April 6.
More About Beau Rezendes
Beau Rezendes’ background encompasses a blend of corporate, academic, and public sector work. Beau’s career includes senior and line management positions in energy, healthcare, manufacturing, and data processing, as well as professorships for the University of Colorado’s graduate program and Regis University’s school of undergraduate studies.
Beau was actively involved in leadership assessment, team effectiveness, and senior corporate and employee coaching in the areas of interpersonal communication, transitional change management, and executive development Her most recent position was with British Petroleum (formerly Amoco Corporation) where she served in leadership and individual contributor roles related to training and organizational development. She was a key contributor to the design and creation of the company’s 360 competency feedback and leadership development process for top-tier executives.
Beau has worked with several national and multi-national corporations in developing expertise in human resource management and training. She was the director of the Society for Human Resource Management for the State of Colorado. Also, she was a founding member of the National Hospice Organization Board of Directors and was the first to assume the role of National Director of Education and Training.
She is a member of the International Federation of Coaching and has served on a variety of community boards, including the Grillo Health and Information Center in Boulder and the Frasier Board of Trustees. Beau is currently a member of The Advisory Board of the Boulder County Conversation Project, the TRU Community Care Landmark Memory Care Strategic Advisory Committee, and the design team and board of The Planet Project Stewardship Entity.
Making a difference has always been Beau’s passion. With her late husband Dennis, she taught conversational English in Ghana, China, and Portugal as part of the Global Volunteer Program, and she has consulted on the writing of two books: If Not For The Perfect Stranger; Heartwarming and Healing Stories of Kindness from the 2013 Boston Marathon and Barack Obama Quotations 2004-2017; The Man, The Words and The Legacy.
Beau grew up in Peoria, Illinois and has lived in Colorado since 1964. She attended the University of Colorado where she earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. In addition, she holds a Master of Arts degree in College Student Personnel Administration and an undergraduate degree in Psychology.
Beau’s extended family includes three children and seven grandchildren living in Australia, Colorado, and Massachusetts.
THANK YOU, Beau, for your decades of service to our community! You continue to inspire us all.
Today is a sad day for many in the TRU community. Michael McHale, TRU’s President and CEO since July 2017, is stepping down from his position at TRU to pursue the role of President and CEO for St. Paul’s Senior Services in San Diego. Michael began his healthcare administration career at St. Paul’s in 1999, and he sees this as a unique opportunity to return to St. Paul’s mission, bringing his career full circle. Michael stated, “I can honestly say that I would never consider leaving TRU if it wasn’t for the chance of a lifetime.”
In his time at TRU, Michael has been an inspiration and brought about tremendous growth. In partnership with the leadership team, he helped to nearly double the impact of our programs and the size of the staff and annual revenue. Michael played a crucial role in building TRU’s tele-care program, and he added Landmark Memory Care to TRU’s continuum of care. The leadership team, board, staff, volunteers, families, and supporters at TRU have helped to get us to a place where we are caring for nearly 1,000 people at a time in our community. This does not begin to capture our reach, which is expanded exponentially by our grief services. TRU is in a strong financial position, achieving stability and growth year-over-year since Michael’s arrival.
Scott Gresser, Chief Financial Officer for the past ten years, has been named interim President and CEO. Before joining TRU as a staff member, Scott served for five years on the board of directors. His loyalty and devotion to TRU span two decades, and he has been an integral part of our success and transformation. Prior to joining TRU, Scott served in leadership roles for 20 years in the publishing and broadcasting industries. “Scott and I have worked side by side for nearly five years, aligned in mission and vision, and working together with other leaders to develop a strategic plan to guide TRU in the coming years. I know the organization is in great hands,” said Michael.
“It is an honor to continue the important work of leading this organization and serving our community. Over the past several years, we have made tremendous strides to become who we are today, continuing to evolve over the past 46 years in an ever-changing healthcare industry. I am humbled by the opportunity to keep us moving forward, and I am proud every day to come to work at TRU,” said Scott.
There have been occasions throughout my career when I’ve had the opportunity to connect with someone deeply impacted by the organization I serve – occasions that touch my heart, remind me why I’ve chosen this work, and fill me with gratitude. I had one of these occasions a few weeks ago, and my conversation with Judy will stick with me for years to come.
When Judy first learned of her dad’s cancer diagnosis, it was already terminal. He briefly pursued treatment but quickly came to terms with the fact that the end was near – likely only months away.
Read more about one family’s experience with TRU and consider making a year-end donation to ensure that everyone has access to the care received by the Laschingers.
Dad is the pillar of our family – our strong and unwavering patriarch. His diagnosis was terminal from the start, and his decline was so drastic, so fast. Even though we had resources and knowledge at our fingertips (I’m a nurse, my sister a CNA), we felt totally out of control. We wanted to honor our dad’s wish to be at home, but circumstances were different than we’d imagined, and we realized that we had to be open. You can’t plan for everything. And we needed help.
The day came when Dave (Judy’s father) experienced unmanageable pain, as well as irritation often referred to as terminal agitation. A friend of the family told Judy that she’d always heard wonderful things about TRU Community Care and that TRU has an inpatient hospice care center. She gently suggested that Dave would benefit from that level of care. Judy said of her subsequent conversation with Matthew, our admissions intake supervisor:
Matthew listened and he truly heard me. He knew we had to discuss our options first as a family, and he told me, “I’ll wait for you. We will be here.” He just knew. He anticipated our needs even before I could fully articulate them. Matthew went above and beyond to get Dad into TRU Hospice Care within hours of our first phone call. His compassion for this work was evident, and his efforts will not be forgotten. I hung up feeling like the stars were aligning, and the coordination of care from that point forward was remarkable.
Dave was admitted to a room at the Care Center that night. His pain and irritability were brought under control, and he was able to rest peacefully. The sentiments shared by Dave’s spouse and children speak volumes about his short but powerful stay there:
One of the first things a TRU team member said to me when observing that my sister and I were tending to our Dad was, “It’s time to take a step back from your role as caregivers and just focus on loving your Dad. We’ll take care of the rest.” – Debbie (Dave’s daughter)
The Care Center was filled with spirituality and love. Everyone there was calming and nurturing, and they treated us like their own family. They also had answers, and they let us know what we could expect every step of the way. They turned a terrible situation into a beautiful and loving one. – Chris (Dave’s son)
I had all the confidence that he would be taken care of – beyond what we could do at home – and I was able to allow myself a little rest. The staff took a load off of our shoulders in the most compassionate way possible. – Liz (Dave’s wife)
Judy told me through tears about a few meaningful moments from her family’s time with TRU:
Even though Dad was not alert and hardly made a movement, he seemed to just know when nurse Berta was in the room. She managed a playful and genuine tone with him, and we could feel him relax when she was around. At one point Berta joked with him about his appearance in the 70’s film “Airport,” and Dad broke his long stillness to bring a finger to his lips, as if to say with a coy wink, “Shh, we don’t make a fuss about that.”
We can now look back on an excruciatingly painful time and see it as a beautiful, peaceful, loving experience. When we look back, we can still feel the warmth, love, and protection provided by our team at TRU.
After Dad passed, we gathered as a family to ring the memorial bell – a sacred Care Center ritual. It was only fitting that the staff members joined in our circle with their arms around us, just as it felt to us since the moment we’d arrived. The whole team had such a presence. They made us feel like we were the only people there, even when every room was full. It seemed like Dad was their only patient, and we were their only concern.
I will forever be grateful for Judy sharing so vulnerably with me, and now with you, about the end of her dad’s life. My wish is that everyone I love and everyone you love will receive the compassionate care experienced by Dave and his family when it is needed most. When you support TRU with a contribution, you help to ensure that my wish comes true.
Director of Development and Communications
TRU PACE was thrilled to host an exhibit of paintings by Boulder artist and TRU PACE participant, Mary Beckman, earlier this week. Mary curated ART RECALL exclusively for TRU PACE, and the selections for the show convey the depth and breadth of work in Mary’s fine art background both as an illustrator and a painter.
“I paint what I see—both in my imagination and in my community. I have my own vision,” said Mary. “I’m most proud of the work I did for Caravan International—an original collection of artwork for notecards and journals. The paintings for that series were about powerful women. The Native American images in this body of work were sanctioned by the Chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.” Mary’s landscapes lean towards abstraction, and her still life compositions can be whimsical and bold, influenced by folk art and traditional fabric and quilting patterns.
Now in her 70’s, Mary has painted and created for most of her life. She enrolled in the TRU PACE program in April of 2020, in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mary’s daughter, Jessica, shared that PACE saved her mom and their entire family. Mary’s healthcare needs and expenses were increasing, and the financial burden was becoming too much. Jessica learned about PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) and thought it sounded too good to be true. One program that would coordinate all of her mom’s healthcare needs – physical, social, and emotional – at no cost to their family? How could that be?
A signature feature of PACE is an interdisciplinary team (IDT) representing every aspect of a participant’s well-being. From physical therapy, medical disciplines, social work, recreational therapy, nutrition, transportation, and more, PACE takes care of the whole person. In Mary’s case, the IDT knew how much art means to Mary. She has thrived at PACE and has enjoyed participating in the Purple Art program, an expressive art program for seniors. She spoke often of her work and how it motivated her throughout the pandemic to look toward the future. Her care team discussed the idea of hosting an art show for Mary as part of her plan of care. They knew that sharing her talent with her caregivers, friends, and family would do her a world of good. Jill Bilek, PACE Recreational Therapist, took the idea and ran with it.
When asked about their favorite things about Mary, members of her care team shared, “her openness and sense of humor, her honesty and spunk, the great energy she has about her, that she doesn’t let anyone or anything get in her way.” When asked how they think PACE impacted Mary and her family they shared, “it alleviated Mary’s need to lean on her kids and helped them return to being a family. PACE has helped her stay as healthy as possible and helped her psychosocial well-being. We’ve helped her daughter feel supported in caring for her mom, and we’ve helped Mary to feel that she has healthcare advocates.”
In addition to having worked in commercial illustration and toy design, Mary holds a Masters of Divinity in Practical Theology, Art, and Spirituality and has spent more than 15 years in the ministry, working with diverse inner-city populations and the Native American community. Currently, Mary spends her time on private commissions and connecting with the community, through art workshops and gluten free baking.
TRU’s fourth annual and second virtual TRU Cares Fundraising Luncheon took place on October 21. During this hour-long event, we celebrated the ways in which TRU cares for our community and heard heartfelt stories from family members of two individuals who benefited from TRU’s services.
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the virtual program and support our mission. If you weren’t able to attend, you can view the full program here. If you still wish to make a donation, you can contribute here.
We are pleased to share that we raised approximately $84,000 through the luncheon, exceeding our goal of $80,000. This amount is comprised of $50,000 in sponsorship, $4,000 in donations before the event, $15,000 in donations the day of the event, and a generous $15,000 matching gift from Bob Von Eschen, Jr.
Thank you also to all of our sponsors, founders, board members, volunteers, staff, advisory council members, patients, participants, and families. We are grateful for each and every one of you.
Our TRU Talk Fall 2021 edition should have hit your doorsteps by now and is also available for you to download at the link below. This issue brings you a heartfelt story from the TRU Care Center, the remembrance of a World War II Veteran we had the opportunity to honor while in lockdown, a Hiking Support Group participant’s note from the trail, and a PACE participant’s appreciation of the technology that has brought much-needed connection to the homebound.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our Perfect Peaches fundraiser!
TRU staff and volunteers spent a fun morning greeting customers, loading cars with fresh Palisade peaches, and sharing stories about our connections to TRU Community Care. Thank you to all of our staff and volunteers who helped out! With your help, we were able to put 400 boxes of peaches into peach-hungry hands, and we had a pretty great time doing it!
A big thanks to all of you who purchased peaches by the box or half box to take home to your families and friends! It was a real pleasure seeing all of you on Saturday, and, by enjoying the peaches we bring in from White Orchard in Palisade, Colorado, you’re helping to support TRU hospice, palliative care, PACE, memory care, and grief services.
And finally, we greatly appreciate the crucial support of our sponsors without whom this event would not be possible. Thank you!