Where do you want to go? We can go out to eat anywhere you want? That is what the hospice volunteer asked Mrs. D. The answer was totally unexpected. Do you think we could go to Price Chopper? And so the two set off on a slow trip to Price Chopper and topped it off with a wonderful excursion to the Dollar Store. The food was fresh and tasty, the deals were unbeatable and the hospice patient and volunteer had the time of their lives. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 61.2 million people gave their time toward volunteer efforts in 2006. In 2006 High Peaks Hospice integrated 349 volunteers into the joy of affirming life for terminally ill patients and their families. These dedicated women, men and teens gave 5,769 hours of their lives. They made 1,768 visits to 222 homes. They worked in our offices and helped us raise funds to support the hospice mission. Their inspirational efforts translated into $120,860.26 worth of additional labor for High Peaks Hospice. Not every hospice patient or family wants the services of hospice volunteers. For those who do, the volunteers are available to help in 349 different ways. We have professional volunteers who help with massage and healing touch. Others will enrich the lives of the families through crafts or cooking. They will read, chop wood, take the patient or caregiver shopping, or diligently attack crossword puzzles. Then there are the make a wish moments of cruises and dancing on Lake George, car trips to the sites of childhood memories or green Birkenstocks. High Peaks Hospice provides comprehensive training to volunteers but the real teachers are the patients themselves. A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; an optimist sees the same glass as half full. But a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty. G. Donald Gale Join us. Referrals for hospice care are given by physicians, nurses, friends, neighbors, the patient or family members. Call 1-877-324-1686 to learn more about High Peaks Hospice or visit our Web site at www.highpeakshospice.com. Jan Demers is executive director of High Peaks Hospice.