Lamar Area Hospice Finally Has a Home

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(Photos by Russ Baldwin & Vincent Gearhart)

Chilly weather this past Saturday, October 27, could not dampen the spirit of warmth exhibited by the crowd that attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Lamar Area Hospice on West Olive Street.

Although the offices in the three story building have been in use for several weeks, area residents hadn’t had the chance to view the major renovation project that has been underway for the better part of a year. Hospice Executive Director, Deb Pelley, welcomed the crowd prior to the ribbon cutting and voiced her thanks to her staff and the board of directors for their support over the years. The former Lamar Hotel, which had been derelict and vacant for several years, has now been transformed into offices, meeting rooms, a healing patio and garden, consultation rooms, library and storage space for hospice related equipment. The renovation project took almost a full year, work that was done around the hospice staff as three small usable rooms slowly expanded into a brand new, three story building.

Lee Robinson, a former hospice board president, related some of the early days of hospice and his personal involvement with the organization in the 1990s when Linda Earl was the director. Robinson said there was plenty of heart to offset some of the hardships the hospice members endured while the organization was gaining ground. “Back then our entire annual budget was just around $20,000 if you can imagine that,” he said. Volunteer groups began fund-raising efforts as far back in the early 1980s when the Lamar Hospice organization was being developed. Committees hosted annual dances and auctions and later an annual golf tournament helped contribute to the yearly funding, events which have expanded and are continued today. Robinson also thanked early supporters such as Martha Thompson, Lana Geier and Linda Earl, who, he said, would perform their regular work and then find the time to volunteer extra hours to hospice.

The Lamar Area Hospice enjoyed a funding windfall this past week, with $10,000 donations each from Valley National Bank earlier in the week and this past Saturday, another $10,000 donation from Community State Bank, presented by Jan Hall. An almost year long fund raising raffle was brought to a conclusion Saturday morning with the winners being announced by Mayor Roger Stagner who pulled the names from the entries. The 1966 vintage Ford Mustang was won by Mike Riley from Oklahoma, Lamar resident Judy Turpin won a rifle and scope and Harley Mason from Pampas, TX won $500.

The open house continued into the early afternoon with self-guided tours of the facilities and refreshments for the attendees.

By Russ Baldwin

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