Jane Jeffers was named the Chosen Valley Care Center Volunteer of the Year. PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Jane Jeffers was named the Chosen Valley Care Center Volunteer of the Year. PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Jane Jeffers of Chatfield handles them with prayer.

"I started going to volunteer two years ago in August. I really sensed one day that the Holy Spirit wanted me to go up to the nursing home and volunteer, so I asked the activities director, Kate Glor, who's wonderful, for people who needed a visit," Jeffers explained. "I used to sing with the ladies from the Lutheran church at the nursing home, so I'd been there before, but Kate gave me a bunch of names."

Jeffers, who is an ordained pastor, began to go to the Chosen Valley Care Center to talk with the residents about life, their families. She would also pray with them and read scripture.

Because of her devotion to God and to those residents she visits, Jeffers has been named as Chosen Valley Care Center's (CVCC) 2013 Volunteer of the Year.

While most volunteers might find their place in the schools or working with youth, Jeffers was already accustomed to spending time at nursing homes because her older sister was in a car accident just before her 19th birthday. Jeffers, a high school sophomore at the time, visited often and then eventually got a job at a nursing home, working there for years and years.

She witnessed how at times, the elderly were the forgotten generation and took it as her personal mission to remember them each and every day.

"I think when you're 70 and 80 years old and your life is almost done, you don't feel you can deal with things, but you do," she added. "God puts it on my heart who to visit and at times, there are people who really need prayer."

Jeffers brings her listening ears, a Bible, and occasionally, when asked, bread and grape juice for communion. She finds that their personal stories are of courage, perseverance and grace.

"One thing about the elderly...I have learned so much from them," she said. "So many of them have really handled life well and are neat examples for us - seeing what they've been able to go through gives hope and courage to do the things we need to do."

Her volunteer hours at CVCC are typically early in the day, before residents are ready to leave their rooms for the remainder of the day.

"I go a couple times a week. It all depends...it's different every week," Jeffers explained. "I've learned to go according to their schedule, and they like to be out of their rooms by 9:30 in the morning, so I go early."

She noted how the staff welcomes volunteers at any hour, and how "they're so amazing, like family, and for the ones whose families don't come, they become those people's families."

Being recognized by the staff as a stellar volunteer came as quite a surprise to Jeffers, she said. "It was a surprise, a real humbling time for me. I saw that God honors you when you're called to do what he wants us to do."

Jeffers enjoys that the elderly are so sincere, have such real relationships.

"They're so precious," Jeffers said of the Chosen Valley Care Center residents. "It's such an honor and a privilege to know them. You really become family with them, and if they need a listening ear, hugs, have real crises, you can be there for them and let them know that God loves them, that they're not forsaken. They're so amazing."

Activities director Kate Winter Glor stated that Jeffers' volunteerism and her personality are "totally priceless" to the care center.

"She visits dedicatedly three to four times a week, and that's why we awarded her the Volunteer of the Year Award," Glor explained. "She is a ray of sunshine, and we look forward to her coming each week. It isn't just the residents who look forward to her, but the staff, also. She's personable, genuine, caring...she's a gift. She doesn't realize what a gift she is. The residents she comes to see are immediately at home with her, and she makes a big difference in everybody's life."