Dedicated community leader and generous philanthropist Catherine Hiler is a true community servant and supporter of Center for Hospice Care (CHC) and the Hospice Foundation, so it was only fitting that she was celebrated on the evening of May 1 among more than 500 attendees at the organization’s biggest event of the year, the Helping Hands Award Dinner.
“Catherine has been a huge part of Center for Hospice Care and Hospice Foundation for 16 years,” said Peter Ashley, Director of Communications and Annual Giving for the Hospice Foundation. “She has been an incredible force for good when it comes to Center for Hospice Care.”
This is the 35th year for the Helping Hands Award, which honors a deserving recipient who has significantly given back to their community. The theme for this year’s dinner was “An Irish Blessing,” celebrating Hiler’s Irish roots.
“The award honors people who have been actively engaged in the community over a long period of time, not just with Center for Hospice Care,” Ashley said. “It is truly a community award, for people who have made a significant impact.”
Hiler was on The Stanley Clark School board of trustees and a parent representative on the John Adams High School committee that established the International Baccalaureate magnet program. She has served on the Center for Hospice Care board as a volunteer member, and currently chairs CHC's five-year fundraising campaign, "Cornerstones for Living: The Crossroads Campaign," which concludes June 30, 2019. She also has received the Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Proceeds from the Helping Hands Awards gala support a variety of programs at CHC, including bereavement programs, charity and unreimbursed care, as well as support for two significant current projects on CHC's Mishawaka campus: a 12-bed inpatient care facility, and a clinical staff building for nurses and other employees.
“I think Catherine is very deserving,” said Sister Carmel Marie Sallows C.S.C., the 2018 Helping Hands award recipient. “She is very humble. She’s put so many hours in for Center for Hospice Care, and she sets a wonderful example of serving others.”
Hiler explained that her 16 years of supporting CHC started with her experience in a Virginia hospice care center alongside a friend.
“My friend Susie was diagnosed with liver cancer and would only have a short time to live,” Hiler recalled. “I visited her in Virginia Hospice House where she was receiving medical care to keep her comfortable.”
“The care she was receiving made all the difference for her family and friends. It allowed them not to worry about her care, and focus on the time they had together,” she said.
Shortly before Susie passed away, her grandson was determined to make sure she was at his wedding. The hospice care center and her grandson made it possible for Susie to attend an onsite ceremony.
This was one of the many moments that inspired Hiler to serve her local community by supporting CHC.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege for me to work with the wonderful and competent Center for Hospice Care and Hospice Foundation staff,” Hiler said.
“Most of you have had your hospice moments and you appreciate the impact that hospice care has on individuals and families. Hospice care brings the joy during an incredible time of sadness.”