El Dorado County
Senior Couple of the Year
2018 Senior Couple of the Year - Dennis and Ann Letl
Dennis and Ann Letl are Snowline Hospice volunteers who are committed to supporting patients and families near end of life. They retired to Rescue, CA in 1981 and have called El Dorado County home ever since. While these two could have decided to have a retirement of pure rest and relaxation, they have chosen instead to help those in need. Sometimes, what is remarkable about people’s service to others and the community is not in the busyness of their schedules or the numerous activities that they take on; sometimes the extraordinary is in the consistent, tireless commitment in carrying out the ordinary for others. That is exactly how Dennis and Ann have served in the community-with a deep commitment to what they value and believe in. That concept can be counterculture today in the world that celebrates multiple commitment. However, their approach to serving, which is to have a narrow, yet deep focus on helping others, has made all the difference in the lives of those they have served.
Ann has been a hospice volunteer for 25 years. In April 2018, Ann celebrated 25 years as a hospice volunteer with Snowline Hospice. She has been sitting bedside with dying patients and comforting their families for the last quarter century. Ann does very practical things for families— warming meals, giving medicine reminders, fluffing a pillow, holding hands, sharing memories, and bringing special treats to patients and families. She has ushered hundreds of families in those years through the hard process of losing a loved one. Ann has a penchant for art and has had the opportunity to share that healing therapy with patients along the way. Having lost her mother at an early age, Ann felt she was drawn to this work of comfort and care because of that experience. Ann’s approach of caring for one patient and family at a time—giving that family her total focus when she is with them each week- has meant so much to so many. Snowline Hospice estimate that she has helped usher 500 patients and families through the death and dying process over these 25 years.
Dennis joined his wife in and became a hospice volunteer himself 7 years ago. Dennis, however, picked an area that he felt was a great fit for him and became a Courier Volunteer. Each week, Dennis delivers medicines and supplies to families who need items emergently or have no other way to get the items. So many seniors, committed to living independently, and especially at end of life, have family or spouses who may no longer drive. They also often have mobility issues that prohibit them from “getting into town” to get to medicine and supplies. Dennis has been a comfort to many a family who had a loved one actively in pain and no other way to get pain medication but to rely on someone else to bring it to them. Dennis delivers all over the county, sometimes without the blessing of working GPS in remote areas, to find patients’ houses and get them the much-needed supplies. Dennis brings joy to even the shut-in spouse or loved one he greets at the door with a smile and a few minutes of pleasant chatter before the family member returns to their duties with their loved one. While Dennis sees his service as “nothing too much”, his service to others is extraordinary in the ordinary. Snowline Hospice estimates that he has delivered to over 200 patients over the last 7 years.
Dennis and Ann’s volunteering life does not have a long list of organizations. But what is to be honored and recognized is the depth of their service and commitment to others as evidenced by the work they have chosen to do. Supporting patients and families at end of life is not glamourous work—it is the work of unsung heroes in our community who have a heart for some of the most feeble and vulnerable in our community. We hope the whole community will celebrate their amazing hearts and the beauty of their joint passion to focus on others at end of life. They bring so much comfort and joy to others—their effort haven’t been in vain. May they never tire of the good work they do for others.