Better than anyone, Hoffmann Hospice understands the significance of losing someone, as well as the importance of life and living.
Each year, the nonprofit organization holds the Voices of Inspiration event to celebrate life.
This year’s event takes place at Rabobank Theater and Convention Center Tuesday, March 6, at 5 p.m. and features country singer and entertainer Reba McEntire as the keynote speaker.
Beth Hoffmann, director and founder for Hoffmann Hospice, said McEntire is a “very uplifting as a personality in general” and knows firsthand the feelings that loss and grief bring.
In 1991, McEntire’s band members and tour manager were killed in a plane crash near San Diego.
McEntire will speak on her experience, as well as life and love.
When the event started 23 years ago by Beth and her husband, Tom, the hope was to not only inspire her staff, but the community-at-large.
Through the years, they’ve hosted a variety of speakers and guests ranging from athletes and broadcasters to singers and actors, including Michael J. Fox, Vin Scully, Michael Phelps and Peyton Manning.
Beth couldn’t pick a favorite, as they’ve all been special for one reason or another, though Tim Tebow did stand out. Beth said he had such a wisdom about him, which was fun to be around.
“When they really get it, when they know what we’ve done and what we do, that feels good,” she noted about the guests who understand the mission of hospice care.
It isn’t an easy field to work in.
Local business owner Denise Keiffer of Keiffer Wigley Real Estate Group has attended all but one of the “Voices” events. It started off simply supporting friends, but it became much more.
“It has turned out to be one of the best events in Bakersfield and I am blessed and fortunate to have seen it grow year after year,” said Keiffer.
She said the event is special and unique to have these celebrities come to Bakersfield to raise money for an exceptional cause.
In the past two years, Keiffer lost both of her parents, but Hoffmann Hospice took care of them in their last months.
Due to the success of Voices throughout the years, Hoffmann says they haven’t had to turn a patient down due to funding.
“A lot of people come to hospice to die, but they really learn how to live,” said Beth.
As anyone who has experienced loss knows, death comes with many challenges and emotions. “We can’t change the outcome, but we can change the journey,” said Beth.
Crystal Ardesch, 28, experienced Hoffmann’s kindness during her uncle’s final weeks of life.
“From beginning to end, they were there and went above and beyond what we ever expected,” said Ardesch. “Honestly, they were the biggest blessing we could have ever imagined. It was like God placed the right people to be there at the right time.”
The Voices event allows Hoffman Hospice to hold true to its mission and vision each year.
“It’s making a difference in the lives of those we’re serving in the community,” said Beth.
Beth said she hopes attendees “have a wonderful time and come back next year and learn a little bit more about hospice than they knew before.”
For ticket and sponsorship information, call 410-1010 or visit hoffmannhospice.org. ￼