The volunteers of Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County were honored recently at an award ceremony and luncheon at the Roger Sherman Inn in New Canaan.

Eight volunteers were singled out and received special recognition for their outstanding commitment, compassion and dedication to service.

Sarah Burke of New Canaan received an award for her work as an office support volunteer; Helen DeBlasi of New Canaan, for her work at the New Canaan Thrift Shop; Verna Barrett of Wilton, for her work as a patient support volunteer; Judy Higby of Wilton, for her work on the Development Committee; Karen Wackerman of Wilton, for her work on the board of directors; Ann Cascella of Norwalk, for her work at the Turnover Shop of Wilton; and Russ Levine of Weston, for his work on the Medical and Professional Advisory Committee.

A special Team Spirit Award was given to the entire staff at the New Canaan Thrift Shop in honor of Dolores Klein, longtime manager of the shop who died last year.

Richard C. Frank, M.D., of Fairfield, an oncologist/hematologist and director of cancer research at the Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital, received the Carol B. Bauer Community Spirit Award for his outstanding volunteer service as medical director of Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County.

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"This award was established in honor of New Canaan's Carol Bauer, whose spirit of support and devotion to volunteerism is unmatched in the community," said Sharon M. Bradley, agency president and CEO. "The Carol B. Bauer Award is presented each year to that special individual who embodies the ideals and spirit of volunteerism. It is given to acknowledge selfless devotion, compassion and caring."

"Dr. Frank exemplifies the true spirit of volunteerism," said Carol Bauer, who presented the award to Frank. "It is with deep gratitude and great pleasure that we recognize Dr. Frank for his exceptional contribution to the mission of Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County. He guides the agency's hospice and palliative care program with clinical excellence. He cares for patients and their families with warmth and true compassion. His impact is inestimable."

A nonprofit community organization for more than 100 years, Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County provides professional nursing and support services, senior care management, physical rehabilitation, health education, community wellness programs and hospice care for adults and children in New Canaan and throughout Fairfield County.