After hospice workers provided the comfort and care she needed in her husband’s final hours, Micki Souter discovered the perfect outlet for channeling her inherent love and compassion. As a devoted volunteer at Silverado Hospice in Anaheim, Souter’s genuinely warm heart has touched the lives of everyone she encounters patients, families and coworkers alike.
Souter is being honored as the February recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award. Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary, with locations in Santa Ana and Mission Viejo, created the recognition program in 2012 to pay tribute each month to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional care in their profession, community and the world at large.
“Micki’s cheerful optimism is a much-needed ray of sunshine in the lives of patients and families,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven. “Her joyful presence is often all it takes to reduce the emotional stress taking a toll on their daily lives.”
A retired trauma nurse, Souter has gone above and beyond in her work at Silverado, where she has volunteered for three years. Although she assists patients wherever she’s needed, Souter focuses her attention on one patient at a time, allowing her to develop relationships with patients and their families on a deeply personal level. She prefers working with Silverado patients receiving at-home care, because she believes the familiar environment is more relaxing for everyone involved.
“Micki is a volunteer extraordinaire. She goes above and beyond the responsibilities and requests of a hospice volunteer,” explained Julie Bynon, volunteer coordinator at Silverado. “She is kind, gentle and comforting to our patients and their families.”
For many hours a day sometimes as many as nine hours at a time Souter is at the patient’s side, feeding, conversing, and caring for his or her needs. It’s all part of her personal belief that no matter their condition or illness, patients must always be respected as people. When a patient passes, Souter stays in touch with the family, visiting them, bringing them food, and providing continued comfort.
“I’m just grateful to be the caregiver, not the person receiving it,” said Souter. “To me, caring is all about being there, being honest, holding hands and really listening. And laughter is very important: we have to focus on how lucky and blessed we are. I’m just honored to do it, and the patients and families appreciate it. It feels nice to know other people appreciate it, too.”
It’s no surprise that Souter fills every ounce of her life with love. She enjoys spending time with her family especially her five grandchildren and best friends and her boxer dog, and goes out of her way to support everyone, from attending school plays to providing company during chemo treatments.
Souter will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Awards banquet in November. The banquet honors a year’s worth of achievements among the local caregiving community.
About Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award
Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award pays tribute to Orange County individuals whose kindness and dedication to serving others is inspirational. These courageous individuals go above and beyond their job descriptions to serve with the utmost care and compassion. Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Care Award winners come from many fields including private care, hospice, social work, counseling, assisted living, nursing, therapy and volunteer work.
For more information and to nominate a deserving candidate, visit Fairhaven’s website or email.
Founded in 1911 by Oliver Halsell to provide a peaceful and comforting place for families to honor their loved ones, Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary (fairhavenmemorial.com) is Orange County’s most beautiful independently owned and operated full-service mortuary, crematory and cemetery. With the memorial park and mortuary in Central Orange County and an elegantly appointed mortuary in South Orange County, Fairhaven offers a wide range of pre-need and at-need services provided with care and compassion. Fairhaven is dedicated to celebrating the individual, providing services that are as unique and wide-ranging as the people they celebrate.