News & Events

Alliance resident recommends hospice help

August 15, 2012

By Mallory Evans, The Review, Published August 15, 2012

The weeks since her husband’s death have been difficult ones for Shirley Specht.

“It’s quiet around here now,” she said, sitting in the living room of the home she shared with her spouse, Charlie.

Although the mourning process is painful, Shirley is open to sharing about the care Alliance Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice gave her husband in his last few months.

Hospice arrived at the Specht home in April, and Shirley said she appreciated their presence.

“I would really recommend them to anyone,” she said. “I felt very comfortable with them right from the get go.”

Alliance hospice strives to provide quality of life for the terminally ill. The teams of doctors, nurses, home health care aides, counselors and volunteers work with patients like Charlie in their own homes.

“He hated being in the hospital,” Shirley said. “It was good to be able to keep him at home. People could stop in if he was having a good day.”

The Spechts’ love story began years ago when they were both students at Alliance High School. They were married May 21, 1954. Shirley and Charlie were married 58 years. “That’s practically forever!” she said as she smiled. “I was only 19 when we got married.”

Shirley admired Charlie’s ability to have fun at one moment and be serious when the situation called for it. “He was a lot of fun, but he worked hard all his life,” Shirley said.

She said the hospice workers had the same capacity for balancing smiles and fun with seriousness and hard work.

“There isn’t one of them that I wouldn’t welcome into my home at anytime,” she said. “They just fit. I don’t know how to explain it — it’s like they could be family.”

Hospice sent nurses, physical therapists and continuous care personnel to the Spechts’ home. The continuous care provider came to the house once a week throughout the summer, giving Shirley a chance to run errands at the grocery store. Shirley said she developed friendships with the hospice workers over time. “I’ve never been through this process. They were always concerned with me, too,” Shirley said. “They gave me a lot of support.”

Charlie Specht died of neuropathy and congestive heart failure on July 3 at the age of 81. The couple’s two sons no longer live in the Alliance area. Scott, of Seattle, and John, of Cincinnati, were both able to make trips home and visit their father before July 3. “Hospice let our sons know in enough time so they could both be here,” Shirley said.

The Spechts are members at Beechwood Christian Church. Shirley said their faith was strong, and this helped them immensely over the last few months. “We go on God’s time, not ours,” she said.

The Alliance Visiting Nursing Association and Hospice program is a nonprofit organization. Events like the upcoming Steppin’ Out For Hospice 5K Twilight Run/Walk help support hospice and its services.

The 5K will take place at 7:45 p.m. Saturday. Cost is $20 for early registration or $25 for race-day registration. A 1K Run/Walk for children ages 10 and under will start at 7 p.m. The children’s 1K costs $10 for early registration and $15 for race-day registration.

Runners and walkers can register on race day from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Those who pre-register receive a T-shirt.

The starting line will be in front of Alliance Community Hospital’s main entrance. Food and drinks will be provided after the race. The run will take place rain or shine.

Awards will be given in several categories, including the top three male and female overall finishers, the top three finishers for each age group of the 5K Run/Walk, and the top three boy and girl finishers of the 1K Fun Run/Walk. Children ages 10 and under competing in the 1K run and walk will receive participation medals.

For more information on hospice services or the upcoming 5K, call 330-596-7575 or visit

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