Volunteer goes above and beyond
Leon McDaniel has been assisting patients of Hospice Care of Tri-County as a volunteer for two years. Volunteer, however, does not adequately describe Leon. This is a man who goes above and beyond his expected duties, says Elaine Kelly, volunteer coordinator for Tri-County.
It may seem a coincidence on how he came to volunteer with this agency, says Elaine, but she believes it was no accident. After Leon retired, as a inspector for the Phillip Morris Tobacco Company, he wanted to give back to the community. He dialed the number for a local hospital to offer his services and Elaine at Tri-County Hospice answered.
Always looking for volunteers, Elaine didn’t let a wrong number keep her from signing him up. “I was called by God to do this,” Leon said, adding. “God saved me from what I was doing and I want to do whatever I can to serve Him.” Leon serves as a patient care volunteer. Most of the time he is assigned to work with male patients. “There is such a need for men to go visit our male patients,” noted Tim Ervin, community educator, “to have someone like him that will go out and see people is such a blessing.”
As an Army veteran, Leon relates well to other veterans, Ervin added. Leon’s duties include visiting and talking with patients, running errands for them, and when needed, offering light housekeeping or light yard work. However, “Leon takes it to the next level,” says Elaine. Some of the things Leon has done for his patients, include helping to build a wheelchair ramp, cutting down bushes and trees in overgrown yards, building a hand-rail on outdoor steps for a WW II veteran, replacing doors and locks, helping move clothes and furniture for a patient, and helping one who was being evicted find a another place to live.
Last week, after this interview, he climbed under a patient’s home to repair a busted water pipe. Now, this crippled man who had been hauling water into his home from an outside spigot has running water in his kitchen and bathroom. Leon, a licensed minister, says serving as a hospice volunteer is his ministry. “I do believe this is my duty to God’s people. It is my ministry to Christ to help others in need,” he said.
Leon is married to Edell McDaniel and they reside in Darlington County. They have raised five children and have five grandchildren. Leon volunteers every day and on many Saturdays. It is a 44-mile commute from his home and he visits patients in the Tri-County’s service area which includes Florence, Darlington, Marion, Dillon, Marlboro and Williamsburg counties. “I couldn’t do my job without him. He makes my job so much easier,” Elaine said, praising Leon’s efforts and dedication to helping others.