Hank Nourse

September 2008

Hank Nourse spent most of his adult career in the construction business, but he’s got a new building challenge as Mission Hospice’s new director of volunteers, a position he started in July. Due to a variety of circumstances, Nourse is the fourth volunteer director in 18 months (immediate predecessor Matt McCoy moved to Kansas).

“My first task is to get to know the current volunteers,” he said during an interview this summer. “This fall, I’ll be working on recruiting more volunteers. I’ll probably be visiting some of the more active church congregations and putting the word out to current volunteers to recruit their friends. We’ll also be contacting former volunteers who have dropped out over the past two years.”

Nourse started at Mission Hospice with 40 direct-care volunteers and another six office volunteers. As the average number of hospice patients and transitions (pre-hospice) program clients increase, more volunteers will be needed. Nourse would like to have 80 direct-care volunteers and 10 office volunteers by the end of 2009. (See training calendar on Page 2)

The new volunteer director originally came to Mission Hospice in March for training as a direct care volunteer himself. He was retiring from a position at Rebuilding Together Peninsula (formerly Christmas in April), where he directed volunteers over two National Rebuilding Days. He said he’d had it on his mind to become a hospice volunteer since 1999, when his father was a Mission Hospice patient.

“I realized after that experience how spiritually rich end-of-life care is,” he said. “I really saw how important that care is to families.”

Until that time, Nourse had spent most of his adult life in family construction businesses, but he shortly made a major career change. He became director of parish outreach for Episcopal Charities, a program of the Episcopal Diocese of California, which covers most of the Bay Area. Later, he combined both careers in his work at Rebuilding Together.

Nourse said he wasn’t originally planning to go back to a full-time job after his retirement, but the Mission Hospice position not only fit his experience and interests, but “is a way for me to continue some very important spiritual work.”

He also hopes to achieve his initial aim of providing direct care as soon as he can work it in.

“My goal is to be able to take on a patient as a volunteer,” he said.

The nutshell

  • Born: Hayward, 1949
  • Raised: Burlingame, CA
  • Education: BA in American Studies, UC Davis
  • Career:
    Construction business — 1973-2001
    Episcopal Charities, Diocese of California — Director of Parish Outreach, 2001-2004
    Peninsula Rebuilding Together (formerly Christmas in April) – Program director, 2004-2008
    Volunteer Coordinator, Mission Hospice – July, 2008-present
  • Personal: Married. Three adult sons.