At Hope Hospice, we designate our employee of the month as that month’s “Hope Hospice Hero.” It’s appropriate, because our employees truly are heroes to our patients, our patients’ family members and other caregivers.
Our Hope Hospice Hero for April is one of our nurses, Jason Winfrey. Jason is not only a hero to those listed above, he is also a hero to a number of students in the African nation of Liberia.
Jason is a St. Louis native who attended Vianney High School, then received a BS degree in Nursing from Saint Louis University. After working in ICUs around town, he became a Medical Missionary through the SMA Fathers organization, a religious missionary congregation that was founded to evangelize Africa.
He went to Liberia, on Africa’s west coast, in 2001. During his time there he provided basic medical care to many. He shared the religious message of the Catholic church. He met several young people who had big ambitions. Although a college education in Liberia is inexpensive by US standards, many poor people in Liberia cannot afford those tuition fees.
A few years after his return to the US, Jason set up his own scholarship fund called HOPE, which stands for Having Opportunities for Powerful Education. (This name was chosen several years before he began working for Hope Hospice.) With help from friends, family, garage sales and his own personal contributions, HOPE has been able to help a number of Liberian students attend college and begin their paths to better lives.
Jason had the opportunity to return to Liberia last month and see some of the results of his fund’s efforts and visit with those who received its benefits. Among them was HOPE’s first 4-year business course graduate. He says of his efforts to help those in Liberia, “It’s just like doing hospice work—it’s all about love and compassion.”
Laura Bilbrey, Hope Hospice vice-president and co-founder, says, “Jason is a perfect example of what a Hospice Nurse is all about. Caring, compassionate, dedicated to his work, most of all, his patients. I absolutely love Jason as a person, a friend, & an employee.”
At Hope Hospice, we applaud our employees for their contributions beyond their work environment, in the local community and in the world community.