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Peace of Mind at Journey's End

Eric Hellberg

Eric Hellberg, Lt Col, USAF (Ret.), is a methodical man. Maybe it's his 30 years as an Air Force pilot. Maybe it's simply his nature, just like his gift for friendship and storytelling. Whether flying missions in Viet Nam, serving in the Strategic Air Command, as City Councilman and then Mayor of Yuba City, or planting his backyard garden, Eric has always been a man with a vision and a plan. Now, he is summoning these strengths as he faces the end of his life. He is not doing it alone.

"When my wife, Theresa, suggested Rideout's Hospice program, I resisted what I took to be a death sentence," Eric recalled. "But the moment I enrolled, I felt a great weight had been lifted. My declining health had put a huge burden on my wife, and we now have an entire team to help us."

Eric has high praise for the nurses and other professionals who care for him at home and for trained Hospice volunteer Christian Bryeans, the son of a military pilot whom he now considers family.

"Chris can and will do anything for us, and gives Theresa time to rest. All these folks are great, always upbeat, genuinely concerned. The whole team is magnificent; that's what makes Hospice work. People shouldn't wait too long to request the service. It will not change the outcome, but the peace of mind is unbelievable."