HERMISTON - Hope Thompson saw a need for a community memorial service, so she organized the Vange John Memorial Hospice Community Memorial Service.

The eighth annual service held Monday night at Rose Arbor Assisted Living brought together a group of people from the community with one thing in common - they all recently lost a loved one.

"I had my own loss, my husband," said Thompson, the bereavement coordinator for Vange John Memorial Hospice. "Other communities all had something; we had nothing. I recognized the Hermiston community needed this. You have to have a loss of your own to identify with others who have loss."

The memorial service provided members of the community an opportunity to not only tell of their losses but to thank Hospice for the support and comfort provided during a trying times.

Cindy McIntyre, Kathy Moore and Rosie Marcum of Hermiston lost their father, Bob Shannon, last May. Their mother, Bobbie Shannon, died last month after a long fight with cancer. Moore and McIntyre spoke of their losses and the support they received from Hospice.

"They are angels in our eyes," McIntyre said.

After making the decision to keep their mother at home, the Shannon family knew they couldn't face the ordeal without Hospice

"We worked very closely with hospice," McIntyre said. "Mom was able to breathe her last breath at home."

Moore wrote a poem for the memorial service. Despite the tears streaming down her face she read her tribute to her mother and to the volunteers of hospice:

"How to achieve this lofty goal

of comfort and support for mom's body and soul?

Hospice.

Just saying the word still comforts me now,

as it did in the fear and the pain."

Carol Marcum can be reached at (800) 522-0255 (ext. 1-306) or by e-mail: cmarcum@eastoregonian.com.

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