A Carroll Hospice volunteer since 1997, Robbin Nolen has a heart for serving those at the end of life and the families journeying through grief and loss, according to Carroll Hospice spokeswoman Simone Lindsay.
“She has a special way of honoring people’s lives while ushering them into the next life,” Lindsay wrote in an email. “She is moved by each family’s grief journey and is humbled by helping them process their loss.”
Nolen has recently been named one of six Hospice Heroes for 2019, people and organizations recognized for their outstanding commitment to the hospice and its mission to care for and comfort people in their last six months of life.
The Times recently caught up with Nolen to learn more about how it feels to be a Hospice Hero ahead of the April 29 Taste of Carroll fundraiser, a food and drink event that supports Carroll Hospice.
A: I love being involved with Carroll Hospice. To be called a hero feels awkward.
Q:What did you do prior to coming to Carroll Hospice and how did you get involved?
A: When I began working for Carroll Home Care, the company was called Carroll Hospice/Carroll Home Care, all one family. My maternal grandmother and my best friend had recently died from cancer. They were in hospice care but in a different hospice facility outside the area. I saw the work Carroll Hospice was doing for the patients and the community and felt I needed to get involved. My first volunteer experience was the annual memorial service where names are read of those who passed away in hospice care during the year. It was powerful and moving. Next, I became a “buddy” at Carroll Hospice’s grief camp for children, Camp T.R. When Dove House opened, there was a need for volunteers to help. I was hooked.
Q:Tell me about the work that you do and for how long you have been doing it?
A: I have been a hospice volunteer since 1997 and involved with the Taste of Carroll since the first one. At Dove House, I sit with patients, give new families a tour of the facility and try to make them feel at home. I also water flowers, or do whatever is needed that particular day. Each day at Dove House is different.
As a Taste of Carroll volunteer, our amazing team meets monthly, to coordinate the biggest fundraiser Carroll Hospice has each year. This year, I’m chairing the Taste of Carroll Committee and it’s our 20th anniversary with a Roaring Twenties, “Great Gatsby” theme. So, we are certain to have a great time.
Q:What’s one of the most challenging things about this work?
A: Educating the community on hospice care so they select hospice care early.
Q:What is one of the most rewarding things about this work?
A: Being with the patients and the families. Each family has a unique story that fills my heart.
Q: Why should people consider coming out to A Taste of Carroll on April 29?
A: Taste of Carroll 2019 will be so much fun this year! People will see the 4,000 square foot tent, vintage cars, and enjoy food — lots and lots of it!
With more than 40 restaurants there — seven of them will be brand new — people can sample everything from crab cakes, Italian meatballs, smoked salmon crostinis to mac daddy dumplings and so much more.
Vintage cars will be on display, and exciting auction items up for bid — including a hand-made artisan table crafted from a reclaimed barn made by Robin Ford especially for the Taste of Carroll’s 20th anniversary.
As I remember our first event, the staff of Carroll Hospice and Carroll Home Care did almost everything back then like decorating and volunteering their time to be there. It was a bit rustic but successful enough for us to still be here 20 years later. Now, we have the support of the Carroll Hospital Foundation, and have grown to the point where we have a bigger tent for all the guests this year!