Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Hospice groundbreaking date special one to Jones family
By Karin Hill | The Sun
JONESBORO — When Marilyn Hummelstein called Robert Jones to ask about setting a date for the groundbreaking ceremony on the Flo and Phil Jones Hospice House, which is named after his parents, she didn’t realize the date she had in mind was particularly meaningful.
“I said, ‘How about Sept. 9?’” Hummelstein said. “There was this long pause, and then he said, ‘You do know that’s mom’s birthday, don’t you?’”
With that revelation it was decided that Sept. 9 would be perfect, so on Tuesday dozens of supporters of the project, members of the Jones family, and administrators from St. Bernards Healthcare and the St. Bernards Development Foundation gathered to turn the first shovels of dirt on the $5.5 million project.
Located between the St. Bernards Imaging Center and Matthews Medical Plaza at 1148 East Matthews Ave., the single-story hospice house will contain 20 private units with nurses’ units adjacent to patient room groupings, and common areas such as a chapel, family room, dining room and kitchen.
The house is named after Flo and Phil Jones because of their years of dedicated service to hospice care and other service in the local health care community.
Construction on the 19,000-square-foot facility, designed by Stuck Associates, will begin immediately and is expected to be complete in about one year.
“I look forward to seeing all of you here a year from now at this time in the fall for the grand opening,” Hummelstein told the crowd.
The freestanding hospice house is intended to enhance hospice services in Northeast Arkansas. Hospice provides specially trained nurses and volunteers to care for and support patients and their families while they face end-of-life illnesses.
St. Bernards Development Foundation began raising money for the project early this year and in July kicked off the public phase of the capital campaign, called “A Gift of Peace.”
Another half a million dollars has been raised since that time, bringing the current total to $4 million. Hummelstein said the foundation was moving forward on faith, confident the rest of the balance will soon be met.
“It is our faith in our donors that lifts us and encourages us to move ahead,” she said.
But, she added, it is the compelling need for more hospice care and the physical and emotional benefits it could provide to many families that drives them.
“For these reasons and many more, we cannot wait another day,” she said.
Flo and Phil Jones, whose children are serving as honorary chairmen of the fund-raising campaign, helped bring hospice care to the Jonesboro area and continued to support hospice locally and abroad for most of their lives. They worked together on several overseas health-care initiatives and in local efforts.
Phil died in 2004, followed by his wife in 2006. Flo’s birthday Tuesday would have been her 79th.
Son Robert Jones said his parents’ belief that all life is a sacred gift from God was a driving force in their many charitable activities. In addition, he noted that hospice care was more about life than death, that it’s a work to help “travelers” on life’s journey transition to their final destination.
His parents’ love of traveling, particularly with groups, made the hospice house named after them all the more fitting because it would allow families to “travel” on this final journey together.
Roger Fisher, a representative from Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s office, read a letter on Lincoln’s behalf thanking the Jones family for their efforts to bring hospice service to the community.
For more information on the hospice house or the fund-raising campaign, visit www.stbernardsfoundation.org.
Copyright 2008 Jonesboro Sun