DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The public is invited to enjoy a free catered barbecue buffet, live jazz and a silent auction from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, July 15, on the lawn of Mayo Regional Hospital on West Main Street in Dover-Foxcroft in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Pine Tree Hospice.

The public is encouraged to drop in at anytime to enjoy this family-oriented event that celebrates the 25 years of compassionate care delivered by Pine Tree Hospice to people impacted by progressive, life-limiting illnesses.

The event is PTH’s thank-you to its many volunteers, families, contributors, and grantors who have worked with the organization through the years.

Event chairpersons Linda Howard and Barb Austin will host a brief program at 6 p.m. in tribute to those who formed the organization in 1985, including Dr. Lesley Fernow, Rev. Ken Dale, Ethel Ayres and Kathy Malatesta.

Refreshments, including chicken and veggie kabobs, beef and veggie burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, grilled portobello mushrooms alongside garden, potato, pasta and fruit salads and ice tea, lemonade and punch with cupcakes for dessert, will be served by Isabelle and Mark Telesz of Soup’s On in Rockwood.

Throughout the evening, live music will be provided by the Little Big Band of Dexter, a jazz group including Deb Maynard, Terry Spearrin and Pete McGuire, longtime performers at PTH variety shows as well as other venues throughout the state.

More than 30 items will be auctioned by submitting a sealed bid for artwork, custom gift baskets and unique services. Some of the items may be viewed in the storefront window of Mr. Paperback in Dover-Foxcroft. The most up-to-date listing of items can be found on PTH’s website, Bidders need not be present to win and bids may be submitted in advance of July 15.

In keeping with a true silent auction, the highest bid at any given moment is not known. Bidding ends at 7:45 p.m. Winning bidders will be contacted after July 15.

Auction proceeds, donations by individuals, and sponsorships from Community Health and Counseling Services and Shaw’s-Osco in Dover-Foxcroft will cover the expenses of the evening

PTH is proud to be one of fewer than 70 volunteer hospice programs in the U.S., filling gaps that inevitably exist when someone faces the end of life. Perhaps most important is that PTH volunteers can be brought in long before someone meets the criteria for Medicare hospice. Because its mission is to serve people with life-limiting illness, PTH may have clients for years rather than months.

PTH’s services take place in the client’s home, in nursing homes and in hospitals.

During the past year, more than 90 trained hospice volunteers provided hours of companionship, respite care for caregivers, transportation to appointments, shopping, meal preparation, medication delivery, education, and light housekeeping.

As many of PTH’s clients live below the poverty level and require many types of assistance as well as access to needed resources, PTH volunteers often identify a client’s need for fuel, food, money for gasoline to visit a loved one in the hospital or nursing home and equipment to make daily living easier.

PTH’s volunteer coordinator is the liaison among the families in need of services, their volunteers, members of the medical team and the Medicare hospice team, ensuring coordination of the services which is the key to a positive hospice care experience.

While PTH continues to serve the people who are dying, it also has expanded to provide support to clients’ families, as well as to children who have suffered a loss through Evergreen: The Pine Tree Hospice Center for Grieving Children and Adults.

Evergreen programs are available to anyone in the community, whether their loss was expected, due to terminal illness, or sudden, such as an accident, suicide or acute illness. Additionally, a Caring for the Caregiver workshop series has been developed to focus on promoting self-care and coping skills for the ever-increasing number of caregivers.

PTH also has the Pine Tree Care Team of specially-trained volunteers available to patients, families and staff at Mayo Regional Hospital who encounter end of life and death issues at the hospital. Since 2007, its direct-service hours have shown a 76 percent increase. The team is especially proud to have provided that service without any cost to the families living in this economically-challenged service area.

Organizational support is currently provided by part-time staff and a volunteer board.

The PTH executive director is Jane Stitham. Amy Madigan-Dube serves as the Coordinator for Volunteers and Client Services, Sherri Jackins is the Administrative Assistant and Frances Spear provides office support through the Able Network.

Board officers of Pine Tree Hospice are president Ardie Hacker, vice president Art Jette, treasurer Dale Shaw and secretary Rhonda Taylor. Board members include Sue Mackey Andrews, Peter Barnes, Alice Bunn, Judy Doore and Shannon Bishop.

PTH also is served by PTH Medical Director Dr. Lesley Fernow; Deb Drew, clinical consultant to Evergreen: The Pine Tree Hospice Center for Grieving Children and Adults and Rev. Ray Beless, who serves as chaplain.