Cedar Rapids Hospice Volunteer Spotlight: Tom McKee

Tom McKee

We are excited to shine the volunteer spotlight on an inspiring gentleman who goes far beyond expectations. Tom McKee is one of Care’s most versatile volunteers. He has done just about everything, including patient visits, phone call companionship, writing personal notes of care, answering phones in the office, and even making deliveries from time to time. This volunteer extraordinaire truly walks the walk.

Tom joined our hospice volunteer team in 2016 after moving to Cedar Rapids with his wife Cindi. He was a natural fit, having worked professionally in community-based care and volunteer management. In other words, Tom gets it!

“I believe that the end of life is an important period of time and that listening to memories and reviewing life’s events creates an opportunity to celebrate,” Tom shared. “We all have a story and it’s a privilege for me to hear these stories recounted as if they are new.”

Tom has especially appreciated stories about military service. Both his father and uncle served but neither shared much about their own experience. “These types of stories always put me in touch with memories of my own family and have been a special way for me to learn more about those experiences.”  

While Covid-19 safety measures currently keep Tom from visiting hospice patients directly, he continues to share his time writing personal notes and as a phone companion, calling patients regularly to visit.

“On the phone, one topic leads to another and then to another and another,” he explained. “People are oftentimes happy to share their experiences and it’s been easy to find those topics during the phone conversations. What’s valued most is that we share time together.”

In addition to hospice, Tom shares his time as a volunteer medical appointment driver and as a companion for adults coping with early-stage dementia. The support group is coordinated through his church.

And then there is passion for cars! Tom has a life-long love of classic cars and the man knows what he’s admiring. As a teen in the 1960s, grew up in the era when you were defined by what you drove. “I can look at a car built between 1954 and 1964 and immediately tell you the model and year by looking at the headlights and taillights,” he said with pride.

Tom maintains a detailed spreadsheet listing more than 30 cars that he’s had owned. His list includes the first car he owned - a 1956 Belle Aire, and his college wheels - a 1964 Mercury Comet, affectionately dubbed the ‘pukey pumpkin’ because of its off-brown color.

Tom is currently cruising in a fabulously red 2007 Cadillac DTS. As the photo shows, he keeps it sparkling! Tom and Cindi enjoy hitting the road whenever they can to enjoy day trips with her mom and every chance to visit children and grandchildren.

LEARN MORE about volunteering with Care Initiatives Hospice by emailing Marcia at mhughes@careinitiatives.org