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Letter: Thank you for Memorial and Balloon Release Program

To the Editor:

Congratulations to Joliet Area Community Hospice CEO Mary Sheehan, and her dedicated staff and volunteers on the Aug. 27 Memorial and Balloon Release Program.

This year’s program was held at Joliet Junior College and attended by more than 400 people.

The program is one of many bereavement programs throughout the year to assist those who have lost loved ones deal with that loss.

The program, described as an interfaith remembrance of our loved ones, began with a prelude series of inspirational music by Ken Plese, Janet Russ, and Mike Zolecki.

CEO Mary Sheehan then offered thoughts concerning loss and JACH’s efforts to assist, followed by chaplain Marguerite Kronberger and staff with a candle lighting ceremony. Following the lighting was a song entitled “Light a Candle.”

Mary Ann Burns, Director of Bereavement Services, offered messages of hope, followed by JACH Music Therapist, Diane Horne, with a musical piece named “Walk With Me.”

Chaplain Donald Barrett gave a Blessing of Solace along with inspirational music that lead to the procession of balloons to the outdoors.

Outdoors Chaplain Jim McGuire asked the crowd to say aloud “We Remember With Love,” along with our loved ones’ name as we released the balloons together. Handwritten messages were attached to each balloon.

The program is very emotional, but allows one an additional avenue to help cope with loss and move toward closure.

The JACH is to be commended for programs such as this, with appreciation for the caring and compassionate manner in which they tirelessly care for our loved ones, along with us, their family.

Mark Turk

JACH Board Member

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