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A Tribute to Jack Harrison and Mark Roeder

Mark Roeder

Hospice Austin recently lost two beloved employees, Maintenance Coordinator Mark Roeder, and Certified Nurse Assistant Jack Harrison. They both died unexpectedly, leaving the rest of us – usually so accustomed to death – feeling unmoored. Mark was with us a little less than a year, and made friends wherever he went as he traipsed through the office, scrutinizing ways he could make the lives of his colleagues better. Everyone loved his cheerful attitude and creative solutions.





Jack Harrison

Jack Harrison was also a beloved member of the Hospice Austin family. He worked for us for 17 years and during that time, cared for thousands of patients. Jack had a special gift for reaching patients that no other staff member could connect with. Jack’s absence leaves a gaping hole both with the team members and the patients he served. We have collected a lot of comments about Jack from over the years, and would like to share them here.


Jack, in his own words in 2019

What inspired you to become a CNA?

I’ve been with Hospice Austin for 15 years. My brother was killed in a gang shooting when he was young, so that and going to church motivated me to help people.

What do you love about your job?

Everything. You learn something every day, just sitting and talking to people. A lot of my patients are men who have been in the military and don’t feel they need assistance but they do. Some of them say, “I’m gonna die before I let someone assist me!” If I have a stubborn patient, we sit down and talk and get to know each other. Many times we have a lot in common and don’t realize it. I explain that we’re not going to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. I treat all my patients as the people they are, not as patients.

Is there a particular way that you make connections with your patients or families?

You go in with a big smile, introduce yourself and ask questions. You’d be surprised how quickly people open up. You might notice a medal and say, “Hey, you were in the army, my dad was in such and such,” and boom, there you go!

Is there a moment or a story where you felt like you made a real difference in a patient’s or family’s life?

Sometimes people tell me, “I wish I had you for a son,” or “I wish you could be here with me until I go.” I love my patients and I tell them so – they cry and hug me. Especially the ones who really don’t have anyone else – just Hospice Austin. Sometimes I spend 30 minutes just sitting and talking with them before I give a shower. I have been with a couple of patients while they died – it’s sad but it’s a blessing to see that person go comfortably.

Being with Hospice Austin has made me a better person. I’m grateful to be here with this hospice family.


Facebook comments re CNA Jack Harrison:

Mary Holmes: I love Jack. Jack took care of my Dad while he was on service. He was so gentle with him and I could tell how much he cared. I am grateful to Hospice Austin and Jack for his incredible caring love and support.

Sarah Bramley: Thank you for the work that you and your team do.

Hilda Rivas: Thank you for treating people with dignity and compassion as they make this transition. This is such important work. Thank you

Keisha Kinchion Jones: We love you Jack!

Michelle Stacer Guillot: Jack is just amazing. Hospice Austin is so lucky to have him and so are his patients.

Melanie Guthrie: Jack, thank you for all you do! xoxo

Karen Yockey O’Quin: Thank you, Jack. Your love and attitude shine through. My Mom had Hospice Austin and I was in their Parent Loss group after she passed. It’s a wonderful organization.

Lori Lucas: The best!

Donna Moore: Awesome Angel!

Angel Ramsey: Jack is one of our best! LOVE Jack!

Sarah Gough Janosek: Thank you for your compassion and dedication, Jack!

Debby Taylor Allen: You, Jack, are a Beautiful Gift! Thank you for all you do! Blessings to you

Heather Otto: Thank you for your hard work, care, and for making a difference in your patients’ lives!

Lisa Mais: Jack is a wonderful caregiver. So many of our patients, esp. male ones would not have agreed to being cared for in a personal way if it weren’t for him.

Pam Spooner: I hope HA uses Jack’s knowledge and philosophy to help train other employees. Mentoring others is the gift we pass to the future.


Comments by patients and colleagues about  Jack through the years:

From RN Valerie Sims:  Jack is the epitome of Hospice Austin standards with additional benefits not considered by the standards. Thank you, Jack, for all that you do! I have been the RNCM for pts that Jack has reached when others could not.

From a chaplain: I visited yesterday with the patients at Mary House, Lynn the Director, spoke very highly about the CNA Jack Harrison, she is very impressed with Jack’s work, and his skills. She said to me: “Jack is wonderful, he is very good doing his job, I am very happy with him.” I just wanted to share this with you, a very inspiring comment from Lynn, about Jack.

From a letter regarding Jamie Wilson, Jack Harrison, Briana Cobb and David Moretti: Dear Hospice Family, We wish to thank the Red Team, especially Jamie Wilson and Jack Harrison, who treated Sxxx with absolute respect. The rest of the team were most helpful as needed, but Jamie and Jack were especially wonderful. From beginning to end, they worked with our family for Sxxx’s care and finally, a comfort-filled death. Our family greatly appreciates your team helping Sxxx to finally achieve his A+ in dying.

From an email to a team leader from a patient’s wife: I want to let you know about two AMAZING people who work for Hospice Austin- Jamie Wilson, RN and Jack Harrison, CNA. I have had not only excellent care with my husband with terminal cancer but even more importantly, excellent caring. I’m so grateful for them and the support that Hospice has been to us throughout this difficult journey. These are special people and I hope that you and your company are especially proud of the work they do and take good care of them. People like Jamie and Jack are rare these days and they are both invaluable to the work that Hospice Austin does.

Red Team (CAHPS Survey Comment from caregiver of a deceased patient)

John Beaver established rapport with my husband immediately, and this wasn’t an easy thing to do. His personal care aides were all good. He especially liked Jack. I think it was a guy thing.

Phone call from daughter of a patient: The RNs are amazing and so is every single person who has come out to help my parents. The CNA Jack is unbelievable. Everyone is helping my dad and my mom process things.

Red Team (CAHPS Survey Comment from caregiver of a deceased patient)
The nurses (Carol and others) and Jack (CNA) were wonderful and never made us feel they were in a hurry to leave. Their commitment and care were invaluable during this difficult time.

Red Team (CAHPS Survey Comment from caregiver of a deceased patient)

Nurse Carol Satterwhite, nurse Margaret, and CNA Jack helped make an unbearable situation bearable.


We are grateful to both Jack and Mark for the lives they touched and the kindness they shared. They will be deeply missed.

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