After six years as a chaplain at Arkansas Valley Hospice Inc., Ken West, Ph.D., has agreed to take on a new role: acting director.

After six years as a chaplain at Arkansas Valley Hospice Inc., Ken West, Ph.D., has agreed to take on a new role: acting director. Shamay Smith, who had been with the organization for more than 15 years, and was the director, announced late last year that she would be resigning to go on to another organization.

“I've always had a sincere appreciation for every team member, but now as the director, I see hands-on, each team member's role and the level of commitment that each person has to our patients and family members. I see how a nurse will drop everything and run out the door, day or night, for someone in need, or how significant emotional support can be,” Ken said, as he prefers to be called, adding that Ark Valley Hospice team members aren't only providing hospice services but are servants to all community members.

Arkansas Valley Hospice Inc. offers a hospice, palliative, and a respite care program. The bereavement care program is offered individually and in group settings and is available to all community members. Other programs include the volunteer, Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer, We Honor Veterans and the Community DME program (lending of medical equipment to community members). Arkansas Valley Hospice Inc.'s office is located in La Junta; however, team members serve community members in six counties, 15 cities.

For more information or any questions regarding Arkansas Valley Hospice Inc.'s programs, contact Gina Paradiso at 384-8827 or gina.paradiso@arkvalleyhospice.org.

Arkansas Valley Hospice Inc., started in 1985, is a nonprofit organization. AVH serves community members in Otero, Crowley, Bent, Pueblo, Las Animas, and Lincoln County, providing hospice, palliative and respite care. The mission of Arkansas Valley Hospice Inc. is to support people in the final phases of life, comfort the grieving, and educate the community about end of life care.