After seeing how much the hospice workers helped his wife in her final days, Ben Piejak wanted to do the same.
Josephine Piejak didn't want to spend her final days in a hospital. Dying from pancreatic liver cancer, she chose to stay in her home with her three children and her husband, Benjamin Piejak — and the hospice workers who visited her daily.
During those visits, Benjamin Piejak saw the difference those workers made in the final chapter of his wife's life.
"I saw how much help they were giving her just by sitting down and talking to her," he said. "It made her feel good."
Two years after she died in May of 2000, Piejak decided he wanted to return the favor and started volunteering at the Florida Hospital Oceanside. He began his service as a transporter and had a pretty traumatic first day.
"I was wheeling out a woman to her husband, and she told me she couldn't breathe," he said. "I was in shock, but I got her to the emergancy room."
He stayed there for a few years and eventually transferred over to the Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Center where he's remained since.
"I felt like this was the place for me," he said. "I've been blessed so why not pass that on to someone else."
His day-to-day duties include bringing drinks and other comfort items to the cancer patients while they're receiving their treatment. Piejak had a career in engineering and said he's never received so many "thank yous," in his life.
"For a cup of coffee or juice, I get a beautiful smile," he said. "One lady told me she loved me after I brought her a hot blanket. What other job can you go to where that happens?"