Recently Haven Hospice bid farewell to long-time volunteers and supporters Harry Coleman and Arnold Dittenber who both dedicated their time, treasure and talents to benefit Haven patients and families.
“We are beyond devastated here in Chiefland over the loss of these two great men,” said Haven Hospice Attic Resale Store Manager Malesa McCleery. “Arnold was always greeting the customers on the sales floor, and Harry was the first person all of the donors encountered. We are all family here at the Attic, so they will both be truly missed by our staff, volunteers and especially our customers.”
Haven Attic Resale Store Regional Manager Stormy Palmer-Porter agreed. “They both gave so very much. Arnold gave his time, caring and effort and in doing so, became the face of the Attic. Mr. Harry not only gave of his time, but he too was passionate when it came to Haven and gave so much of himself and his support.” Coleman’s most recent gift was a truck for the Haven Attic Resale Store to pick up and transport donations. “They were well loved and respected fixtures at the Attic.”
Haven Hospice Volunteer Harry Coleman volunteered every day at the Haven Hospice Attic Resale Store in Chiefland with all of his friends, so when he turned 85 on March 7, a celebration was held at the Attic Store. In February, Coleman was the recipient of the Greater Chiefland Area Chamber of Commerce Humanitarian of the Year Award for his dedication as a Haven Hospice volunteer.
Volunteering for Haven Hospice since 2000, Coleman was committed to the Attic Store since its opening. To make the store opening a reality, he manned a donation trailer six days a week for one year, regardless of the weather. Coleman not only went out into the community and sold tickets for fundraising events, but also became a sponsor and attended as well. With over 5,000 volunteers hours served since 2006, Coleman was the recipient of the Community Outreach Volunteer of the Year Award for the Chiefland area three times and also received an Attic Volunteer of the Award. When the care center opened, Coleman donated numerous items and sponsored patient rooms.
Arnold Dittenber had been volunteering since 2003 and was the volunteer liaison for the Attic Store since opening day. During the first year the Attic was opened, Dittenber volunteered six days a week and averaged 30 hours weekly. Garnering almost 5,000 volunteer hours since 2006, Dittenber was a member of the Haven Chiefland Community Advisory Board, and his volunteer service was recognized by Haven on more than one occasion. He was the recipient of the Haven Hospice Community Outreach Volunteer of the Year Award for the Chiefland area twice due to his volunteer recruitment efforts, and most recently, Dittenber was named Attic Volunteer of the Year for the Chiefland service area during the volunteer appreciation luncheon and awards event at the First Baptist Church in April 2014 which was organized by Haven Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Vondla Sullivan.
“He was Mr. Public Relations at the Attic,” said Sullivan. “Everyone knew him that came into the store. He was always promoting their sales, greeting customers, and giving candy and stuffed animals to the small children.”
Dittenber was active along with his wife Shirley in raising funds for the Tri-County Care Center in 2004 and also sponsored a private room that same year.
“We were honored to have Harry and Arnold as part of our volunteer and support group. Both men lived to serve,” said Haven Hospice Interim President Jim Poole.
Friends, family and Haven Hospice staff will gather to remember Haven Volunteers Harry Coleman and Arnold Dittenber along with long-time Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteer Mike Harrell on Thursday, July 23 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Community Building on the campus of the Haven Hospice Tri-County Care Center located at 311 NE 9th Street in Chiefland. Members of the community are welcome to attend.
Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteer Mike Harrell passed on in February. He was the first veteran volunteer to facilitate vet-to-vet pinning ceremonies in the Tri-Counties which began five years ago. During that time, Mike traveled over 6,000 miles to recognize 181 Haven Hospice veteran patients in the Tri-Counties for their military service. He always traveled at his own expense and in 2013 alone, Mike traveled 2,500 miles to recognize fellow veterans.
“I am so glad we are honoring these volunteers,” said Sullivan, “It is such a small token of our appreciation for all that they gave to so many.”
The Haven Hospice Attic Resale Stores serve as a way for the community to donate their time, talent and treasure to support Haven Hospice patients and families. Proceeds from the resale store sales assist Haven Hospice in providing unreimbursed programs and services in Chiefland and the surrounding communities. If you would like to volunteer in the Chiefland area, please contact Haven Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Vondla Sullivan 352.493.2333.