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Hospice names volunteer of year

CARLSBAD — His terminally ill patients confide in him.

Patient Care Volunteer Dan Del Fiorentino was honored as volunteer of the year by Hospice of the North Coast. Courtesy photo
Patient Care Volunteer Dan Del Fiorentino was honored as volunteer of the year by Hospice of the North Coast. Courtesy photo

Patients’ families rely on him. And Hospice of the North Coast (HNC) considers Patient Care Volunteer Dan Del Fiorentino the pinnacle of philanthropy, for he freely gives something money cannot buy: time, empathy and compassion.

HNC has named Del Fiorentino its 2013 Volunteer of the Year. He will be honored at the North County Philanthropy Council Volunteer Awards Luncheon Nov. 14. For tickets and information, e-mail A humble, cheerful man with a constant smile of goodwill on his face, Del Fiorentino (“Call me Dan!”) is one of HNC’s longest-tenured Patient Care Volunteers. He began serving HNC 20 years ago when he himself was in his mid-20s.

He continues to fill this difficult role when a family is facing a challenging time for a clear reason.

“I get so much satisfaction out of helping patients and their loved ones. Most of our clients are at home, where they want to be. It’s all about offering simple kindness. Every time I leave a client’s house, I feel very good knowing that I have done something to help.”

Over the years, Del Fiorentino has worked with scores of clients. He recalls, “I have held a patient’s hand for two hours. Enabled weary caregivers to run errands, take a walk or simply lie down and rest. Helped an elderly man see himself for a few minutes as a youth in his snazzy Studebaker, not as a dying person. Knowing I have made a difference is my reward. Above that, I have learned so much about my clients, life and myself.”

HNC’s Director of Volunteer Services, Judith Miller, said, “As a nonprofit hospice providing care and support to terminally ill patients and their families throughout North County, we depend heavily on people who can contribute a few hours a month or more. Serving in a variety of capacities, our valued volunteers give a lot. Dan Del Fiorentino is exemplary.”

Del Fiorentino is the music historian at the National Association of Music Merchants in Carlsbad. He and his wife of 22 years, Mary Ann, live with their twin sons, 12, and daughter, 10, in Escondido. He credits “my very supportive wife” for helping him navigate his full schedule of work, parenting and volunteering with HNC.

Nerice Kaufman, HNC’s executive director, said, “Dan exemplifies the true heart of hospice. Thanks to dedicated volunteers such as him, we are able to carry out HNC’s mission of helping people have a peaceful life-to-death experience.”

Nonprofit Hospice of the North Coast was established in 1980 to fill the need for comprehensive, compassionate hospice care in North County San Diego. Since its inception, it has grown in services, staff and clients.