Letter to the Editor: High hopes for hospice, palliative care center

Dear Editor:
I am excited as well as thankful that Meeker now has an avenue to provide compassionate end of life care for people in our community. HopeWest-Meeker is in the beginning stages, thanks to a recently formed partnership with Pioneers Medical Center and HopeWest (formerly Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado) of Grand Junction.
I want to extend a special thank you to the members of the HopeWest-Meeker advisory board who, for the past two years, have worked side by side with me, sharing the passion for this much needed service: Johnny Arrington, Kent Borchard, Bill Ertmer, Margie Joy, Betty Lou Moyer, Ken Harman, Solveig Olson and Bev Steinman. Most recently, Fr. Scott Hollenbeck (St. James Episcopal) filled a void when Johnny and Bill moved to other communities.
After exhausting all of our surrounding area resources, we thankfully made connections with Christy Whitney, president and CEO of HopeWest in Grand Junction. It has only been through the positive efforts of Ken Harman (CEO Pioneers Hospital), the PMC board of directors and Christy that we have come this far.
A public meeting for all interested volunteers was held Sept. 17 with 26 in attendance. Our first volunteer training session was this past weekend, with a good size group of very excited and willing participants.
There are now two part-time employees and an office located in the PMC Home Health building on the corner of Third and Cleveland streets. The success of the program will depend largely on the volunteers. There are many aspects of volunteering for this worthy cause, please consider contacting us if you are interested.
We will publicly “launch” HopeWest-Meeker on Oct. 26 with a Halloween Ball and fundraiser at the Freeman Fairfield Center. Our wish is that this catered dinner, dance and silent auction will be an event that will allow the community to gather in fun and friendship and show support for this program.
The advisory board truly believes HopeWest-Meeker will serve our families and friends when they need it the most.
The silent auction items will be displayed in the windows of Wendll’s and Meeker Drug starting Oct 17. Pat Daggett, Andy Goettel, John Kobald and Mayme Cunningham are among many local talents and businesses that have donated items for this worthy cause.
I have found the common thread in their generosity to be a personal “belief” in hospice, whether it has touched them through their family’s lives or that of a friend. Anyone who has had experience with hospice knows the value of its presence in a community.
Please contact Margie Joy, Pioneers Healthcare Foundation at 878-9317 for reservations on Oct. 26. Corporate and business sponsorships are available. Pioneers Healthcare Foundation and HopeWest are working to secure grants and donations to assist in funding the program.
I am thrilled with the outpouring of support that this End-of-Life Care program is receiving and I cannot thank everyone enough. We “hope” to see you there.
Toby Smith
HopeWest-Meeker Advisory Board

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