I’m pretty sure Luxy and Marie LeClair are going to go to heaven.

And following right behind will be Pat and Bruce Bolduc, Jackie Reny, Bernie Huebner, Ken Quirion, Diane Wright and others like them.

They are going to have a blast up there, I am sure.

I know this because I have seen them at work, volunteering many hours of time they could be spending with their families helping those in need.

They are volunteers at Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area, and when I say they slave away, I’m not exaggerating.

The LeClairs head up an effort to collect donations of furniture and other household items to be sold at the resale shop in the basement of the local hospice at 304 Main St. in Waterville.

The shop, which Marie LeClair started and Wright runs, sells all sorts of items, including dishes, glassware, jewelry, collectibles, books and DVDs, and the proceeds are used to provide free nonmedical support and services to those in the last phases of their lives — and to their families.

The nonprofit organization serves 27 communities in central Maine and offers grief support groups, one-on-one support, someone to sit with a dying person and his or her family, spiritual care, support for grieving children and an annual retreat for those who have lost loved ones. Volunteers offer compassionate listening, run errands, give comfort and support to children of people who are dying and visit a sick person to allow family members and caregivers to take a break. They also lend support to veterans at the end of their lives.

When hospice funds were tight in 2012, Marie LeClair, a respite volunteer, started the resale shop. In the first year, it netted $9,800. Each ensuing year drew more support than the one before, and Luxy LeClair proudly announced that last year the shop garnered $45,000 for hospice.

Through word of mouth, the LeClairs’ effort to collect items for the resale shop has grown. This time of year, they get phone calls from landlords, family members of those who have died and other people who have multiple items in a home or apartment they want to donate.

When the donations pile up, hospice has a lawn sale on Saturdays during warm months at the hospice office. Reny, Quirion, Huebner and others who help collect donations typically volunteer at the lawn sales as well. Hospice’s executive director, Sue Roy, also is there, and items sell like hotcakes because the prices are so fair, particularly for medical-related items such as hospital beds, walkers and wheelchairs.

“People tell us we have the best prices in town and especially for medical equipment, which people often can’t afford,” said Pat Bolduc, who also volunteers in the resale shop. “I sold a shower chair for $12 this morning.”

Luxy LeClair has worked at Central Maine Motors Auto Group for 34 years, first in sales and most recently as executive manager, though he works only two days a week in the summer and does advertising in the winter now. The business offers him use of a van at no charge to collect donations. When there is a need to move large, heavy items, the company also donates an employee or two to help.

Marie LeClair worked for a dermatologist many years and then as a certified nursing assistant, which she continues doing one day a week.

On Wednesday I accompanied Luxy, 66, Marie, 64, and the Bolducs, both 70, on a trip to collect donations.

We went first to a large apartment on Bartlett Street in Waterville recently vacated by college students who left many items behind, including couches, chairs, lamps, dishes, kitchen utensils, fans, mixers, crock pots, a toaster, a coffee pot, blenders, pots, pans and a desk.

The LeClairs and Bolducs worked quickly and cheerfully though the weather was warm, filling big plastic tote boxes with all the items they knew would sell at the shop. They said it is always like a treasure hunt when they enter a home. You never know what you’re going to get.

“Look what I found in the bathroom,” Marie said, producing a round blue plastic fan that plugs into a computer.

They packed the van nearly full and then headed to Pleasant Crossing, a newer apartment building at the corner of Pleasant and North streets, where a woman who lived on the first floor had moved into a nursing home.

There, they collected a large wheelchair, a shower chair, a walker and other medical supplies.

Bruce and Luxy labored over dismantling a heavy hospital bed to move it out and into the van.

“Hospital beds generally come apart easily, but this is an extra heavy one,” Luxy said.

He and the others said the hardest part of collecting donations is the lifting. What they really need are younger, stronger volunteers, as most are in their 60s and 70s. They said they would appreciate having some young people such as high school or college students volunteer to help. Those interested in volunteering or wanting donations picked up may call hospice at 873-3615.

It is rewarding work, as it means people who need support at a difficult time in their lives will receive it. Marie said she loves being with someone who is dying, to listen and lend support and compassion.

“My parents both got sick and were able to die at home. There were enough siblings to make that happen,” she said. “That’s why I got involved in hospice. The respite work is really where my heart is. There’s something to be said about being with someone when they die. They tell you things you didn’t know.”

Luxy got involved with hospice after Marie would come home and tell stories about how people are helped through the volunteer organization. He was compelled to join the effort: “I’m not one that can sit and hold the hand of someone who is dying, but I do know how to sell stuff, so that was my way of being able to contribute.”

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 30 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.

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