Rick Orr believes he is better equipped to deal with the end of his own life because he helps others face their own end-of-life issues.
Orr, a retired sales representative for janitorial and cleaning companies and business owner, said he became a volunteer with Grace Hospice because of a friend's cancer diagnosis.
"Bonnie and my wife Patti and some friends would get together every week to do crafts. That's how I came to know her," he said.
The Orrs were with their friend the last week of her life, and he was impressed with how much the Hospice program in which she was enrolled did to grant her last wishes and in making certain she did not have pain.
"If she had asked for a steak dinner, they would have supplied it," Orr said.
The Orrs are active in Broken Arrow Seniors Inc., and when Grace Hospice sent a representative to talk with members, Orr wanted to know more about how he could become involved as a volunteer.
"That was in August last year," he said.
In the fall, he went through the background check and training, and now volunteers to visit men who are Grace Hospice clients. He also visits nursing homes with other Hospice volunteers and helps present for-fun programs.
"The gentleman I am visiting now isn't married, and is in a nursing home, so I go and visit him there," Orr said.
Past clients were men who were in their homes with their wives as caregivers.
"If the lady in the house wanted to get out and go to the grocery store or the bank, or just get out for a while, I would sit with the gentleman and visit with him," Orr said.
He views what he does as spiritual.
"I believe Hospice absolutely helps people make the transition from this life to next. Grace Hospice has ministers to talk with people and their families, and they stay in touch with the family for 13 months after the client has departed," he said.
"You are just leaving one area and going to another, even though you're not taking your body with you. Working with Hospice has changed my thinking considerably. I just turned 75 in April. While I don't expect to leave this life anytime soon, it has helped me prepare myself for end-of- life."