Wall of Honor

Joe DeFreesRoger MesmerMary SchormanMary Ann Buerkle

Hospice of Warren County honored the agency’s forefathers at a “Wall of Honor” ceremony Thursday, September 12, at the John and Orpha Blair Hospice Residence.  The idea for a “Wall of Honor” came from Marcy O’Brien, Hospice Advisory Committee member and interior designer for the Hospice Residence.   Created by local artist, Pat Orbanic, this unique piece of copper art, prominently displayed in the entrance of the Hospice Residence, depicts a growing vine with roots and leaves.  Names of these 4 significant contributors to Hospice of Warren County’s legacy in time, talent, and / or financial support have been placed on a leaf on the vine, representing Hospice of Warren County’s grassroots beginning.

Shortly after the first hospice was formed in the United States in 1972, the idea of starting a hospice in rural Warren, PA, came from the mind of Dr. Roger Mesmer.  A psychiatrist at the Warren State Hospital, Dr. Mesmer teamed with philanthropist and businessman, Joseph DeFrees, to develop this significant service for the people of the Warren County community.  This dynamic duo drew in several other community members in support of their mission to bring dignity and service to the people of their community dealing with terminal disease.

Hospice of Warren County upholds the same principles today that the agency was founded upon in 1979, keeping staff and volunteers true to the agency’s mission of the unique kind and level of service we strive to bring to this community:

Move slowly but steadily, be personal with the details, success comes through the love and dedication of many people, avail ourselves to education, volunteers are the heart of hospice, and listen with the heart.

Dr. Mesmer’s wife, Chris, continues to volunteer with hospice and shares her unique talent as an artist with agency projects.  MaryAnn Buerkle’s son-in-law, Bob Sears , creates beautiful memories by volunteering  his limousine service to hospice patients and families.

Hospice of Warren County is blessed today to have over 150 dedicated and caring staff and volunteers who continue in the tradition of those before them to make so many wonderful things happen for Hospice patients and their families every day.  Hospice of Warren County is the only non-profit Hospice serving all of Warren County since 1979.


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