YADKINVILLE — The beginning of a long-time dream for many people in Yadkin County and beyond saw its first tangible sign of work last week as a couple hundred people gathered for the groundbreaking on the SECU Hospice Home of Yadkin.
Shovels lifted the dirt where the new hospice home, the second home for Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care headquartered in Mount Airy, will be constructed adjacent to the State Employees’ Credit Union on North Lee Avenue, Yadkinville.
Mountain Valley designated a campaign cabinet to lead the fundraising efforts for the home, with a goal to raise $2.5 million. Opening the groundbreaking ceremony Dec. 16, Jerry Carlton, chairman of the cabinet, said his group of volunteers have been working very hard on the project.
“Personally, [the groundbreaking] is a step I’ve been looking forward to,” Carlton said. “I have been waiting a while for this day, and it wouldn’t have gotten here without your support.”
He said with just more than $2 million raised toward the overall goal, Mountain Valley staff and volunteers will still be calling and knocking on doors until the total is reached.
The SECU is a key part of what made the groundbreaking last week possible, Carlton said, as he thanked SECU and its foundation for a $1 million challenge grant which aided the group in raising what it has to this point.
“This is a milestone for Mountain Valley Hospice. I’m proud to say Yadkin County will have a state-of-the-art home to serve patients and support their families,” he said. “It will be a place that is both home-like and welcoming for family and friends of patients.”
The community and those close to the project are eager to start seeing the hospice home take shape, said Carlton. A sentiment which was echoed by Roger Cook, who is employed with SECU’s Yadkinville branch.
“I would like to thank Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care for the opportunity to be neighbors,” Cook said. “Everyone comes in the branch and looks at the rendering” of the hospice home and asks when it is coming.
Nicole Ducouer, anchor for WXII 12, served as emcee for the ceremony, introducing each speaker. She shared the importance of hospice in her personal life through her grandmother in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who received hospice care.
“It’s amazing just to be here today,” said Denise Watson, executive director of MVH. “I’ve been with Mountain Valley Hospice more than 20 years, and this is the second time we’ve had a groundbreaking for a hospice home.
“I’m eternally grateful,” she said as she recognized all of the businesses, individuals and state groups who have come together to make the hospice home a reality. “This day has been coming way too long. I know you did this, because you know the impact it will make. This is a win-win for the citizens of Yadkin County and Mountain Valley Hospice.”
Watson was optimistic, “hopefully by this time next year we will be serving patients. I know that is a tight time frame, but with weather like this, it could happen.”
“This is what community looks like in action,” said Paul Hammes, vice chairman of the Mountain Valley Hospice board and CEO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital. “Thank you for your support.
“For more than 32 years, Mountain Valley Hospice has been there for patients and their loved ones … providing quality care, peace, comfort and support in their final days,” he said. “We will make tremendous progress by providing access right here at home. For single mothers already stretched to their limit and now traveling an hour each day to visit a terminally ill family member in hospice. For the elderly man caring for his wife with no family near to help.
“With great compassion and skill, hospice staff will surround the entire family with a support system. Now imagine the elderly man’s sense of relief to have a beautiful hospice home and nurses and chaplains and staff here around the clock to help him right here in Yadkin County,” said Hammes.
It’s just been since June that SECU has been involved in the hospice home project, noted SECU Foundation member Michael Clements. “We are proud to support the mission to provide the highest level of support and compassion for patents. It will help meet the need for hospice and respite care needs,” he said.
Clements recognized the $1 a month donations made by SECU members who made the $1 million challenge grant and the partnership with Mountain Valley Hospice possible.
“On a personal note, my mother passed away several years ago, and she spent her last days in hospice. It was warm and ensuring for me,” he said.
“I promised I wouldn’t cry, but I may,” said Marty Driver, director of patient services for MVH and a Yadkinville resident. “I’m about three minutes from this hospice home.
“I want to thank Betty Driver, who made the largest personal donation to make the groundbreaking possible,” she said. “Within this tent are five patients who live within five miles of this door. It is amazing to think of what we will be able to offer these patients.
“I’m so proud of my Yadkin team, and we will add a few more employees once the home is built,” said Driver. “Everyone knows this is important for our community.”
As the ceremony concluded, 11 people who are the key leaders and donors on the project stepped outside the tent doors, took shovels and officially broke the ground on what will be an 11,000-square-foot facility featuring six, 300-square-foot patient suites with private baths, and enclosed patios. The new hospice home will feature a chapel, family living room, kitchen, dining area, a children’s playroom, a teen room, community meeting room with covered patio, a sunroom, covered porches and a courtyard with a view of Pilot Mountain.
“The demand for hospice services is growing at a constant rate,” said Watson. “We do not see this trend slowing. Currently about 40 percent of critically or terminally ill patients in Yadkin County use hospice services, and when the new hospice home is completed we will be able to provide compassionate, end-of-life care to a larger percentage of those patients.”
Mountain Valley Hospice services 16 counties throughout North Carolina and Virginia. For more information about hospice care or the Yadkin County hospice home project, contact the Yadkinville office of Mountain Valley Hospice at 336-679-2466.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.