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News Community Hospice House presented $1 million match grant check by SECU

Members of the Dryman family gather around Michele Alderson, president of the Hospice House Foundation (HHF) and Jim Barber, chairman of the State Employees Credit Union (SECU) Foundation. The SECU Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to the HHF that will be presented once $2 million has been raised toward renovations for the facility. The Hospice House will provide respite care and end of life care to patients and will serve six WNC counties.With November serving as National Hospice and Palliative Care month, State Employees Credit Union (SECU) presented the Hospice House Foundation of Western North Carolina with a $1 million check on Thursday. The check will serve as a challenge grant, meaning that the funds will be delivered once the HHF raises half of the $3.8 million renovation costs.

Representatives from the State Employees Credit Union Foundation attended Thursday's event for the presentation and reception afterwards.

The HHF was founded in 2005 with the goal of building a six bed facility that would allow patients a feeling of comfort while experiencing their final days on earth. It has been a long road forward, but they continue to get closer to achieving that goal. Members of the foundation began to raise money, purchased the Dryman home located on Maple Street in Franklin. After being denied once, they were able to gain a Certificate of Need from the state. Now they are one step closer to serving the community after receiving the promise of $1 million from SECU.

The house will serve patients with varied circumstances and the staff will have experience in addressing all their needs. Respite care will be offered which means that patients will be able to come to the house for up to five days while their caregivers take time to rest, travel, or do anything else they may want to do. While under the care of the Hospice Home, the patient will receive medical attention. Patients may also be admitted to the Hospice House at end of life. Families and caregivers are allowed to stay with their loved ones while the patient is at the residence for any reason.

Michele Alderson, president of the HHF, welcomed members of the community, the Dryman family, town and county officials, and SECU representatives from all over the region and state.

“This is a very exciting day for us. It's just overwhelming. We're so grateful. Thank you SECU,” she said. “And thank you for all coming, the community and the media. Anytime we have something going on you all are always here to support us. Also thank you to the Dryman family. We're so excited to be able to use this home for our Hospice House.”

The future Hospice House is located on Maple Street in Franklin.Jim Barber, chariman of the SECU Foundation travelled to Franklin in order to make the presentation of the check.

“We're grateful to all of the members of the SECU who donate their one dollar each month to the foundation. It's a real pleasure to be a part of this project,” he said. “As you may know, we don't have a lot of projects out here in Western North Carolina so it's a real privilege to be part of this Hospice House. We know it serves six western counties, Macon, Graham, Swain, Clay, Cherokee, and Jackson and that's a unique situation.”

According to Barber the SECU Foundation was created in 2004 and collects one dollar a month from each member. The total number of members is upwards of a million.

“We've been fortunate to be part of the cancer center in Asheville, we've had three family houses and 12 Hospice Houses. We're also involved in giving educational scholarships and a variety of other projects,” he said. “It's a real privilege to be involved in this with you all and I just wish you all the best.”

Since it is a challenge grant, the money is currently in escrow for the Hospice House. The HHF will receive it once they have raised an additional $2 million through pledges and donations from the community and other foundation donations and gifts.

“We know we can do this. Our community is a generous and giving community in all worthwhile projects and has continually shown wonderful support for the Hospice House,” said Alderson. “We invite anyone, or any group, at anytime, to visit the future Hospice House and see our plans and have a cup of coffee.”

Those who may be interested in visiting, donating or receiving more information can visit the HHF website at or call Michele Alderson at (828)524-6375.

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