The time to celebrate arrived last weekend for the hundreds that gathered at the SECU Crystal Coast Hospice House for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.
The event marked the completion of the 12,700-square-foot, 10-bed facility at 100 Big Rock Weigh that will provide hospice care to terminally ill patients from Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Pamlico and Jones counties. Plans are to accept the first patient to SECU Crystal Coast Hospice House in mid-July.
Tommy Bennett, CCHH finance chairman and treasurer, said in his opening remarks that he’s heard “wow” and “amazing” in about as many different ways as a Southerner can say it once they see the inside of the house.
He thanked those who helped make the facility possible and the town for living up to its motto, “The town with old-fashioned courtesy.”
He then turned attention to Sarah Strange, chairman of the CCHH Board of Directors, a volunteer and driving force behind the more than five-year project to get CCHH built. He said she was the person who “encouraged us every step of the way.”
Mr. Bennett said there will be a plaque placed inside the building recognizing Ms. Strange for her years of work and dedication. Ms. Strange told those gathered that making CCHH become a reality has been “an amazing journey.”
During the time it took to realize the CCHH dream, Ms. Strange said she has worked with so many compassionate people. She also thanked those committed volunteers, groups, civic organizations, churches and more that have contributed to CCHH.
Field representative Janet Bradbury spoke on behalf of Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Ed Goodwin, Gov. Pat McCrory’s eastern representative, spoke on behalf of the governor.
State Employee’s Credit Union (SECU) Executive Vice President of Branch Operations Jamie Applequist and SECU Foundation Chairman of the Board Jim Barber both spoke to their commitment and support of CCHH. The two men were instrumental in the SECU Foundation giving a $1 million gift to CCHH. In honor of that gift, the facility is named SECU Crystal Coast Hospice House.
Also taking the podium was Dean Lee, president and CEO of 3HC, which is CCHH’s operating partner and a nonprofit organization that operates the Kitty Askins Hospice Center in Goldsboro. He said it has been a pleasure to work with the Crystal Coast Hospice House Foundation, as well as see the community’s commitment.
Paula Griffin, 3HC spiritual care adviser, led the group in prayer before the ribbon was cut and the doors were opened to the public.
Following the ceremony, Ms. Strange reiterated that it has been an amazing personal journey for her. She added it has been a real blessing to see the care and compassion shown by those with whom she’s worked. “‘Thank you’ can’t even begin to express the way all of us feel toward our volunteers, supporters donors and artists … to all of those who have contributed in so many ways.”
She added, “We know this home will provide the opportunity for patients and family to cherish life’s every moment.”
CCHH Foundation Executive Director Robin Nelson shared her thoughts in an email following the celebration. “The Hospice House will just begin to fill the growing need for inpatient hospice care in our region,” she explained. Ms. Nelson said they continue to be inspired by the incredible level of support from the community.
“As we move from construction to operation, community support through volunteering and donations will continue to be so important to ensure that we can keep the facility in great condition, support bereavement programs unique to our area and families, and to build on our endowment to help offset expenses for families that may need that help,” she said.
Commenting on their work with CapDev, Nelson said, “Bringing Allan, Ann and the rest of Capital Development’s team in to assist with the planning and strategy for our capital campaign was key. They quickly became a member of the team! Capital Development advised us on the many aspects of running a successful campaign and empowered our leadership with the skills and confidence to experience excellent results! I definitely recommend them.”