Hospice of Carolina Foothills celebrates 30 years of service

Published 6:07 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nell Deaver, the first and unpaid Hospice of Polk County executive director, is flanked by current HoCF CEO Jean Eckert (center), current board chair Bill Jenks (right), and Ron Smith (left), the board member and chair who helped steer HoCF through its growth in the 1990s and 2000s. (photo submitted)

Gala celebration set for Nov. 15
In 1981, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched for the first time. There was talk about an IBM machine called a PC. And in the foothills of the Carolinas, a brand new organization, Hospice of Polk County, came into being.
Over the course of three decades, this same organization became Hospice of the Carolina Foothills (HoFC), expanded its services, added facilities and altogether altered the quality of life in a three-county community.
It all started with Rev. Tracy Lamar, David Wells and Jack Allen, three individuals with a vision to create a support system whereby people suffering from terminal illness could receive medical treatment, as well as spiritual and emotional guidance for themselves and their families.
In 1981, nine patients received hospice care thanks to the efforts of the founders and many other supporters in Polk County and Landrum.
In 2010, HoCF offered hospice care to 330 people, plus palliative and bereavement care to hundreds of individuals and families in Polk County, Spartanburg and Greenville counties.
Jean Eckert, LPN, took the job of patient care coordinator in 1982. And since 1989, she has steered the organization as its CEO.
“Every day, for 30 years,” said Eckert, “our staff and volunteers have been dedicated to the needs of men, women, and children who live with serious and terminal illness, and to the needs of their families.
“We continue today and will into the future that which was started 30 years ago by our local hospice heroes and heroines, many of whom are still involved as volunteers. It is a testament to their dedication and to the worthiness of their cause.”
Over the years, board members, staff, volunteers and community supporters have worked together to provide steady and dependable hospice services that have withstood unpredictable health care changes and an uncertain economy.
In addition, HoFC has achieved the following:
• A Palliative Care Program that extends more comprehensive healthcare to the foothills community
• The extension of hospice care, palliative care, bereavement services and education into Spartanburg and Greenville counties in South Carolina
• The construction of the N.C. Administration and Program Center on land donated by St. Luke’s Hospital
• The design and building of the 12-bed Hospice House in Landrum
• The opening of the Hospice Thrift Barn in Landrum
• The collaborative effort of opening a Healthcare Information Center in Inman.
As today’s HoFC leaders continue to realize and expand the vision of the original founders, they said they also understand the value of pausing to celebrate this significant anniversary.
On Saturday, Nov. 5, The Friendship Circle, a women’s committee to benefit HoCF, will present “Boots and Bling,” a 30th anniversary gala celebration, with proceeds benefitting the Hospice House. For information about tickets and the evening’s agenda, call Diane or Maureen in the HoCF development office at 828-894-7000.
If you would like information about services, volunteer opportunities or ways to donate, call the information desk at 828-894-7000 or 864-457-9122.
– article submitted
by Marsha Van Hecke

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