Lamar Area Hospice Receives $20,000 Donation

Lisa Thomas, Denise Carder, Shawna Hodge, Rose Ann Yates, Deb Pelley, Pam Lirley, Cheryl Preisser, Sabre Reinhart, Shirley Smith

Hallway in Hospice Building

Site of Future Conference Room

Two fund-raising events are held each year to benefit the Lamar Hospice Association, the Angels Open Golf Tournament and a summertime dinner and dance. Those events, coupled with their silent auctions, recently raised $20,000 which was donated to the Lamar Area Hospice Thursday, September 29. The money will help fund the day to day activities of the Lamar Hospice and will also be earmarked for renovations to Hospice headquarters, the former Lamar Hotel on West Olive Street.

Deb Pelley, Lamar Area Hospice Executive Director, said contract talks are being finalized between the hospice board and Camp and Currell Construction for major renovations to the building which was formerly owned by the Peery family in Lamar. “We had a very reasonable offer from the family for the building. The Peery’s made it very doable for us,” said Pelley. The Lamar Hotel is three stories tall and was gutted from top to bottom last year of all the accumulated furniture, old appliances and debris. Pelley said expansion plans call for some much-needed office space. Her first floor office, which is the biggest and one of three in the facility, is about the size of some walk-in closets. One other office used to be a closet and is shared by two employees.

“We have 34 volunteers and 22 paid staff members,” Pelley explained, “sometimes when we’re offering grief counseling or meeting with a family for the first time, we either have to shuffle people around, or just use the Methodist Church up the street in order to have some privacy.” She praised her understanding staff, “We have nurses who will do their case work using an upturned box as a desk, or just go from room to room from day-to-day where they can find some work space,” she said. Pelley says all that will change after about eight months worth of renovations. “We’re putting in a big conference room that can hold almost every worker, and we’ll be able to offer privacy to our families when they receive counseling or grief support. Our goal is to have an office for each individual,” Pelley explained. She said she wants the new facility to help add to the downtown development. “We’ll offer better access on the side street, with parking in the front and rear, so our older citizens can get to us easily,” she said.

She stressed that the renovations will be functional, not fancy. “The majority of our funding will still go to our daily operations, but the improvements will enable us to conduct our work in a more professional, personal and private setting,” she said. The entire building won’t be renovated at once, but all the essentials such as plumbing and wiring will be done for each room, getting them prepared for any future expansion. “That will save us money in the long run,” she said, adding that now that they have a cost figure to work with, the next job will be securing grant and local funding for the project. “Whenever we could afford it, we’d set money aside to reach the point where we can start to make improvements and have our own facility,” Pelley said. She said the community has been behind hospice since it’s beginning almost 30 years ago. Pelley and her hospice staff is now looking forward to the years to come, being able to serve the community from a place which will help them, help us, in our time of need.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: CitycommunityFeaturedHealthLamar


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