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Matthews House Hospice celebrates ribbon cutting at new Centre of Excellence

July 20, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek


On Thursday, July 12, Matthews House Hospice celebrated its official grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new 10-bed facility on Wellington Street, Alliston.

Celebrations opened with the bagpipes, as played by Mason Wright, and the song, “When the Saints Come Marching In”, followed by the reading of the welcome scroll by Barrie’s Town Crier, Stephen J. Travers.

On hand for the opening was Town of New Tecumseth Mayor Rick Milne, as well as Mayor Mary Small Brett from Adjala–Tosorontio, Mayor Rob Keffer from Bradford West Gwillimbury, and councillors from this and neighbouring municipalities.

Speeches were then read by Margo Cooney, President of the Board of Directors for Matthews House Hospice (MHH), Kim Woodland CEO, and Marv Chantler, VP Fundraising.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our dream come true. Thank you all for joining us today to celebrate the opening of the new home of your community and residential hospice. I’d also like to thank all of the dignitaries who have taken time out of their busy schedules to join us today and you, our South Simcoe community for being a part of our celebration,” said Cooney.

“The building you see before you is the culmination of the dedication and hard work of a tremendous number of people. In 2013 this building was a dream, that turned into vision, that developed into a plan, that came to be a project. This project grew into new construction that culminated in a new home for those facing a life-threatening or life-limiting illness, the bereaved and their families. A home of service, compassion and welcome. This is your home. At some point in our lives we may need the care of Matthews House or we will know someone who needs Matthews House, and Matthews House will be here, ready to help at any time.

“A dream does not become a reality without the support of a tremendous number of people. Our heartfelt thanks go out to our incredibly generous community, our benevolent corporate donors, our caring provincial, County and municipal governments, all of whom provided funds and resources to make this construction possible; Don Eagles and Don Eagles Construction, Darryl the Site Manager, their team and subtrades who worked tirelessly through nasty weather, schedule delays and any number of hiccups that occur throughout a large project such as this; John Kidziun and Marv Chantler, the board reps for this construction project; our staff who, along with maintaining our high standards of day-to-day service to our clients, their needs and the needs of their families have also managed to attend to the additional demands of this construction project. And finally, our amazing volunteers, from our remarkable Board of Directors to our incredibly dedicated community and residential hospice volunteers who give freely and so very generously of their time and talents in support of the Matthews House vision & mission. Without the tireless efforts of our volunteers, Matthews House Hospice would not be able to meet the growing needs of our growing South Simcoe community.

“Finally, I’m sure you can appreciate the complexity and diversity of the services we provide, the level of organization and structure required to meet our clients’ daily needs and oversee the staff and volunteers ensuring the mission and vision of Matthews House Hospice always remains the guiding principals of our service to the community. This is not an easy task.  However, throw in the new construction of a $6 million facility and it truly takes an exceptional person to meet this challenge.”

In the case of Matthews House, she said, that person is CEO Kimberly Woodland.

Woodland, who threw her arms in the air with excitement during her speech, asked event goers to: “live life as fully as you can.”

However, “If it’s the end of life for you, we will be here to support you and your family,” Woodland promised. “We will make sure your days are meaningful and without pain.”

Marv Chantler, VP of Communications for MHH, said, “Our community needs our services and the programs that we offer. This facility is for the community, and built by our community.”

He went on to thank the founders, doctors, nurses, neighbours, trades people, labourers, and hospice staff for their efforts. He especially wished to thank the more than 200 volunteers required to run the new Centre for Excellence.

“There is a time in your life when it’s time to give back. That time for me began in 2007, and I’ve never been happier. If you haven’t volunteered your time already, try it, you’ll like it.”

The MHH Centre for Excellence opened its doors to clients on July 16. The new facility will accommodate additional capacity and programing, and will cost $1.2 million annually in operational costs.

The Community Hospice on Highway 89 remains for sale, and the residential hospice in Kingsmere will close soon.


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