State Hospice honors Hood River woman

Hood River's Marianne Durkan received the Oregon Hospice Association's most prestigious honor, the Beth Wessinger Award, at the association's statewide meeting Jan. 25 in Portland.

Durkan, chairwoman of the board of directors of Hospice of the Gorge, has held that post since Hospice of the Gorge began in 1986.

The Wessinger Award goes to a person who has made significant contributions to the hospice movement in Oregon. It is named for Beth Wessinger, who was a major promoter of hospice care in the state.

Durkan worked with Hospice in the early days as board member and as a volunteer registered nurse. Her commitment and support for hopice care in the Columbia Gorge played a major role in the program's growth to Gorge-wide care.

In 1994, Hospice of Hood River became Hospice of the Gorge and now provides end-of-life comfort care to residents of seven Oregon and Washington counties in the Gorge. The organization has been accredited by the OHA and is Medicare certified. For many years, Durkan has also facilitated a weekly cancer support group on behalf of Hospice of the Gorge.

In addition to her work with Hospice, Durkan has a long record of community involvement. She serves as president of Gorge Ecumenical Ministries, president of FISH food bank, and vice president of St. Mary's Catholic Church Finance Council.

Durkan's Wessinger Award is the second for the Hospice of the Gorge. Ina Holman, executive director of the organization until her retirement, was honored in 2000.

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