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Letter: Giving to support Hospice Cottage is appreciated

It's that wonderful time of the year when we pause to give thanks for our many blessings and reflect on the events of the coming year. Over a lifetime one's life experiences work together in unexpected ways that only with the passage of time and the perspective of hindsight do we gain the understanding of how even life's difficult times can result in positive outcomes.

Back in 2001, in the short span of six weeks, I was given the gift of sharing with three family members as they journeyed from their earthly home. The circumstances were different, but each would have been better served by hospice care. Later that year, I was approached to consider co-chairing a project to build a hospice care facility to serve the residents of our surrounding communities. Through careful planning, devoted effort and the generosity of time and talents from area residents that had foresight -- as well as the "courage to care" -- the dream became a reality with the completion of the beautiful facility known as Sunset Cottage.

Life presents itself and then plays out in unexpected ways. This past June, our family experienced firsthand the blessings provided by this wonderful facility. From the peaceful setting, the lower-level bedrooms that allowed traveling family members to be available around the clock, the spacious resident rooms made homey with handmade quilts, prayer shawls in the chapel, to the compassionate care and soothing harp music -- all contributed to help each family member as they said their goodbyes to our loved one.

As I looked around, I saw familiar names on the leaves of the giving tree and appreciated the many improvements made since the original completion of the project. Beautiful landscaping with additional trees and irrigation systems, an enlarged parking lot, patio awning and the development of a website were all made possible because of continued financial support. This cottage remains owned by the residents of our area and is governed by a dedicated and caring board of directors sensitive to local concerns. Continued financial contributions are the only way to assure continued facility improvements and financial assistance when necessary. Hospice Cottage Inc. (HCI) receives no monetary support from the fees charged. The Christmas Tour of Homes and the Spring Banquet are the major fundraisers. Any contributions are so appreciated, but I would like to remind area residents that only contributions specifically designated to HCI and sent to P.O. Box 203 will assure that your donation remain with this facility.

On behalf of our family and all the families past and in the future who will benefit from this special place, I want to convey sincere appreciation to all the people that had and continue to have the caring and generous spirit so symbolic of this holy season. May the blessings extended to our family and those others traveling life's final journey be returned to each and every one of you.