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Caregiver of the Month – Karen Johnson

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Karen Johnson is the winner of the Hospice Caregiver Award presented by Horan & McConaty.  Karen was nominated by Kendra Swanson from Suncrest Hospice.

Karen Johnson is such an amazing asset to the Suncrest Hospice team. Not only is she a Social Worker she is also the supervisor of all of the Suncrest CNA’s in Colorado. She’s the one that finds all this awesome talent. I have never had a boss that took so much time from her busy schedule to actually listen to our patients and family needs. She goes that extra step to make everyone happy including the CNA staff. She really cares about each and everyone of us. She always is there whenever I have any questions or when I need help. I am so blessed to be working for this company thanks to Karen. I have found my passion in life. Everyone also says, ‘It takes a special person to do your job.” Which is what Karen is a very special person to our hospice team. Thank you Karen for all your hard work. I look forward to working with you for years to come!!! 

- Kendra Swanson, Sunset Hospice

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!


Meet Dan Farley: A Hero in Our Community


One of the unsung heroes in our community, Dan Farley is a committed husband, a loving father and grandfather, and a devoted public servant.  For many years I have had the privilege to know Dan and observe his commitment to helping firefighters and their families.  With a history of public service, specifically in public safety, Dan tirelessly steps forward and leads with a smile, and an attitude of gratitude for the opportunities to contribute to the betterment of our community.  We asked Dan several questions about his life and career.

• When did you join and retire from the Denver Fire Department? I decided to leave Wheat Ridge Police Department and join the Denver Fire Department in 1977.  I retired in 2008 with the rank of Engineer, about 3 months short of 32 years with the Denver Fire Department.
• How many years have you been involved with the Denver Firefighters Museum? I was initially involved in 1992 doing construction work. I was the Executive Director from 1998 to 2001. I have been the unofficial caretaker of the “museum rig” E-04 since 1999.
• May we share a link for people to donate to the museum? Please do! We have two ways to donate: the E-04 account and the general fund, and it goes without saying we’re tax deductible for any donations. That can be services also, we’re always looking for construction vendors that are in the tax implication periods and can’t necessarily donate cash but can donate services. This is considered an “in kind” donation and is tax deductible.
• Why do you donate so much of your time to supporting firefighters? I’ve experienced three brotherhoods: the ‘foxhole’ brotherhood from my all expenses paid trip of the world sponsored by Uncle Sam as a grunt in the Army, the ‘Blue Badge’ of courage as a cop, and the ‘Red Badge’ of courage as a fireman. Of the three there is a very distinct bond with the Red Badge members and it’s easily one that I can identify with most. The times have changed some and recently I’ve felt some angst with our young ones but I know when the chips are really down they’re there and it’s heartfelt with a different commitment mind set.
• What makes the E-04 Memorial program special to you? It’s one I helped get off the ground, and have been closely attached to since our first funeral in August of 1998. My best friend, father and uncle have all been firemen and without question it’s so gratifying to see the faces on the family members when they see E-04 there just for their loved one. It’s at their disposal for the day and we’ll do whatever we can to make that saddest of all days somewhat easier if we can. If you could see the sparkle of those eyes just once knowing it’s about E-04 and the Memorial Program it’s riveting and addictive.
• How many times per year do you run E-04 for funerals? We average about 12 to 15 DFD member funerals a year. Some years have been less and some more and without question the ultimate sacrifice of our brothers that have died in the line of duty is the hardest. So to be carrying the casket of one of our own in that rig, E-04 is so special because it’s a program like no other in the United States that we know of. I know I’m contacted often from other departments wanting this history and guidance for setting up similar programs for them.

Dan Farley is the kind of man who should be celebrated, and at Horan & McConaty we’re proud to call him a friend. Committed to serving the Denver community for more than a century, Horan & McConaty believes in honoring everyday heroes, and the deep connections they create and foster. We’re also proud to help celebrate the people in your life, through signature services that honor a life well lived. For more information on how we can help you and your loved ones, visit our website or give us a call at (303)743-8804.horan-withsig


Caregiver of the Month – Paul Roper


Chaplain Paul Roper is the winner of the Hospice Caregiver Award presented by Horan & McConaty. Paul was nominated by Sherryn Duran, LCSW at St. Anthony/Porter Hospice.

On his birthday, Paul Roper deferred celebrating with his family to read scripture and pray with the family of a dying woman despite not being on call that night.

Paul is always quick to help in an emergency, to take on a shift for an ill coworker or even one who he thinks just needs some downtime- despite the fact that he not only works on call for hospice, he also takes call for the Centura hospitals and The Butterfly Program.

When I was recovering from a serious illness, while the whole office put together food for my recovery, Paul was the one to bring it 19 miles out of his way and also made sure I had a fleece blanket and pillow to recover with.

Sherryn Duran, LCSW – St. Anthony/Porter Hospice

Each monthly Caregiver Award winner will receive a gift card that can be used for whatever the recipient decides and an award.

At the end of twelve months the review committee will select the Caregiver of the Year to be revealed at a banquet honoring the twelve finalists. The Caregiver of the Year will win a trip for two within Colorado.

Do you know a Caregiver? Nominate them today!


“At Jerry’s request, no services will be held.”


My barber Jerry is a wonderful man. I have known Jerry for years, and appreciate his big and generous heart. When his clients are sick or unable to come see Jerry, he packs up his kit and goes to them. He is alert to helping people in every way he can. I see Jerry at the funerals for his clients, sometimes as a speaker. Jerry knows it’s important to show up because it means so much to the survivors and as part of his own need to grieve.

So, perhaps you can imagine my shock and surprise when Jerry announced there will be no funeral for him. He has advised his wife and son this is his wish. He doesn’t want people to grieve and wants to leave this world without fuss.

With over 40 years of experience and extensive training in helping people cope with grief, I know there are many others like Jerry and I believe people who state such things are well-meaning, though misguided. Please allow me to explain.

Since the dawn of recorded history, humans have come together to mourn, to view their deceased loved ones, and to allow others to share this experience. Grief shared is grief diminished. Dr. William Worden, a noted researcher in the area of grief, writes there are four tasks of mourning:
1. To accept the reality of the loss.
2. To work through the pain of grief.
3. To adjust to an environment where the deceased is missing.
4. To find an enduring connection with the deceased while embarking on a new life.

Dr. Worden acknowledges there is work involved in each of these tasks and reminds us that these are not meant to be a linear progression, though there is a logical sequence. One cannot expect to “complete” one and then move to another. These can all be in play at any given time, with more emphasis on one or some than another. Funerals and memorial services play an important role in giving structure, comfort, acceptance, and meaning to people who are grieving.

Dr. Worden, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, and others who conduct research and are widely regarded as experts on this subject all acknowledge what I see all the time, that people who lean-in toward their pain are doing the work of mourning and moving forward in that process.

Funerals and Memorial Services represent opportunities for people to come together with a common purpose, to share the loss and to provide and receive comfort and meaning. It’s important to get this right. As I explained to my friend Jerry, the dead don’t care, but the living do.

I know Jerry would want what is best for his family. That’s why I hope I convinced him not to micro-manage the needs of his survivors, because these are their needs. It should be their right to come together for a meaningful goodbye without the guilt of feeling that they acted contrary to his wishes.

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Free Screening of Emmy nominated documentary, Being Mortal


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Tuesday, August 23
5303 E County Line Rd, Centennial CO 80122
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Gather with friends, neighbors and peers for a free screening and discussion of the Emmy nominated documentary Being Mortal, which explores what matters most to patients and families experiencing serious illness.  Based on the best-selling book by Atul Gawande, MD, this documentary explores the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness and their relationships with the physicians who treat them.

Network with medical professionals and community members, enjoy free refreshments and discuss what matters most to patients and families facing difficult treatment decisions.

RSVP to this FREE event: Call (303) 745-1771 x342 or email jmcbride@HoranCares.com

Should I Send Flowers?


Many years ago someone said to me, upon entering a chapel filled with beautiful flowers, that each felt like a hug.  I realize flowers wither and die, and that seems to be a popular argument for omitting flowers from a funeral. It may be helpful to consider a different point of view: I choose to bring flowers to my wife on special occasions and I have never heard her counsel me to stop doing this because the flowers don’t last. The beauty and the visual statement that expresses someone cares is meaningful to people coping with grief and loss.  The flowers may not last, but the caring gesture is long remembered.

Caveat: it’s important to consider the cultural and religious background of the recipient. If the deceased and family are Jewish, flowers are less appropriate and a donation to a favorite charity is suggested. Alternately, food can be taken or sent to the home of families sitting Shiva for the week following the funeral.  For a deceased person of Asian descent, it is better to avoid red flowers, as red is viewed as a “happy color.”  Specify yellow and white instead.

There are many ways to show we care and, of course, flowers aren’t the only means.  Some people say, “let me know if you need anything.”  Other people just show up and do things.  I am reminded of my friends Bob and Jan Litchard who, upon learning of a neighbor’s sudden death, gently and unobtrusively took care of the lawn, cleaned the kitchen, washed and put gas in their car, prepared meals, and sensed when to clear out and give the family some space.  Bob and Jan could have offered to help, but likely would not have been asked to help because people don’t want to impose on their friends and family.

When my father died, Jamie and Beth McConaty showed up out of the blue with a wonderful meal.  My mother still talks about how much that meant to her.  Some other things you might consider: a couple dozen donuts to the family’s home the morning of the funeral, shoveling snow when needed, babysitting to allow some free time for a hair appointment or just to get away for a bit, taking the dog to the groomer, transporting family and friends from or to the airport, a phone call on the anniversary of the death to share you know and care about the significance of the day, inviting the widow or widower to a movie or dinner, offering to coordinate and help plant annuals in the garden, and so on.

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