Tom Hallahan named next director of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard

Hospice of Martha's Vineyard will have a new director in August. — File photo by Lynn Christoffers

In November, Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard announced that executive director Terre Young would step down in August, after 10 years at the helm of the organization that since its inception in 1981 has strived “to meet the unique physical, emotional and spiritual needs of all who are facing advanced illness and loss, and to give them hope, comfort and compassion.”

This week, Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard named Tom Hallahan of Oak Bluffs, currently executive coordinator of Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard, its new executive director. Speaking to The Times Tuesday, Ms. Young said after conducting a search, Mr. Hallahan “clearly was the best fit for our organization.” He has over 20 years of experience working for health organizations, holds numerous degrees and certifications, and has been working on the Island for several years.

“My hope was that we would find someone who really could come into this work and make sure the best care was given to the families that come to us for care of their loved one who is dying, and the families who come to us for bereavement support,” Ms. Young said. “And that the person would give the best care to my staff, who are the ones who give that care. This is not always easy work.”

Ms. Young said that after 15 years working at Hospice, she’s ready to step away and spend more time on her farm in West Tisbury, especially working in her garden.

“It’s time to move away and let someone else carry Hospice forward,” she said. She will stay at the helm through Hospice’s biggest fundraiser, the Summer Soiree, held in August.

Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard provides hospice care irrespective of insurance requirements or ability to pay to anyone in the community, and is entirely funded by donations.

“The amazing people in the community give Hospice maybe $5 or maybe $5,000, and they come to our events, and they know how important our work is, and they support us financially,” Ms. Young said.

Ms. Young stressed how thankful she is to have held the position for 10 years, and to see Hospice through to its 35th anniversary.

“This has been what I feel is the best job I’ve ever had,” she said. “I think it’s the best job on Martha’s Vineyard — to be out there in the community taking care of people at the most vulnerable, sad, and love-filled of times; it’s the best job you can have to really make a difference in people’s lives.”