The Rev. Lou Wallace Receives 2018 Peter Keese Leadership Award
(GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA)—The Reverend Lou Wallace, a well-known grief counselor, received the 2018 Peter Keese Leadership Award on September 5, 2018. Wallace is credited with establishing North Carolina’s first community-based hospice bereavement program at Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro (HPCG).
Presented by The Carolinas Center (TCC), this annual award recognizes a North Carolina leader in end-of-life care.
“Lou is a true pioneer in the field of bereavement counseling,” said Marcia Vanard, HPCG’s vice president of counseling and education. “She believed that hospice bereavement services should be available to everyone, not just those families served by hospice, and that has led to tremendous healing in our community.”
During a career that spanned more than 29 years, Wallace served HPCG in a variety of roles, including chaplain, bereavement counselor and director of its grief counseling center. In 1989, she garnered attention when she opened the grief counseling center to anyone who had experienced the death of a loved one. She was also instrumental in establishing HPCG’s Kids Path program, which supports children coping with serious illness and loss.
While no longer working full-time, Wallace continues to facilitate HPCG’s “Loss of Spouse” support groups throughout the year.
Wallace is no stranger to personal loss, having experienced the deaths of her youngest son and only daughter. While she seldom disclosed her own story, Wallace reflected that her own losses enriched her ability to connect with clients in the depths of their pain. Because of this connection, she was often assigned the most difficult or traumatic losses.
One such client was Rebecca Schlosser, who was counseled by Wallace after her 25-year-old son, David, unexpectedly died following a lengthy struggle with bipolar disorder.
“Lou Wallace became my guide, listening and helping me understand that my responses to David’s death were normal. At a time when it felt like my reason for ‘being’ was over, Lou helped me find my footing,” she said.
Wallace reflected: “Through my years as a grief counselor and chaplain, I have had the privilege of serving people as they find new meaning, constructing new lives. People say ‘I admire you for doing that work. It must be depressing.’ It’s not! It’s affirming, loving care.”
HPCG is a nonprofit organization that serves an average of 350 patients per day in Guilford County and surrounding areas. It is situated on a 14.75 acre campus at 2500 Summit Avenue. Since 1980, HPCG has been providing physical, emotional and spiritual support for children and adults faced with a life-limiting illness, as well as their caregivers and families. For more information, call 336.621.2500 or visit www.hospicegso.org.
About the Peter Keese Leadership Award
The award is presented annually by The Carolinas Center (TCC), which is a trade organization promoting quality end-of-life care and representing an extensive number of hospice and palliative care providers in North and South Carolina.
The Peter Keese Leadership Award is presented to a North Carolina individual who has:
- Been affiliated with a North Carolina hospice or palliative care provider or end-of-life care coalition that is a member of TCC.
- Devoted significant time to promoting hospice care.
- Provided vision and innovation in an approach to end-of-life care.
- Involved in fostering relationships with strategic partners.
- Involved in hospice care throughout North Carolina.