After eight years of planning, the Rim Country Hospice Foundation broke ground for the construction of a hospice house during the 8th Annual Community Care Auction.
"Building a hospice house has been the primary goal of this foundation for eight years," President Jerry Thebado told the guests.
"We would not have gotten to this point, if it hadn't been for the blood, sweat and tears of (RTA Hospice employee) Kathleen Hughes. She has been the driving force of this project for years, and has made a huge impact on this board.
"We were planning this little party for you all tonight anyway," Thebado said. "Since everything fell into place in just the past two weeks, we could think of nothing better to do in front of our 300 closest friends than to break ground on our hospice house."
While guests cheered, Thebado, RTA Hospice owner Bryan Faith, Vice Mayor Barbara Brewer and Dan Frost dug the ceremonial shovels into the dirt.
Frost was representing his father, Ray Frost, who was also heavily involved in the hospice house project from the very beginning.
The hospice house, which will be operated by RTA Hospice, will offer a home-like atmosphere for terminally ill patients who require 24-hour nursing care during the end stages of their lives.
The foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the hospice philosophy of providing care and comfort for terminally ill patients and their families by providing financial assistance not available anywhere else.
The foundation also absorbs costs incurred by non-funded patients through fund-raisers such as the annual dinner-auction.
"I think this may have been one of our best events yet. Everyone had a great time," board member Lucinda Campbell said. "We couldn't have done this without the support and love of our many local vendors and supporters."
"The Payson community and surrounding area have once again stepped up to the plate, with the help of olunteers, donations, and funding from business, as well as individuals," Secretary Guy Pfister said. "With our deepest gratitude, we thank everyone who has supported the foundation over the years and look forward to your continued support in the future, so that we may enhance the lives of patients of hospicend their families."
Now that the foundation has broken ground, Amon Builders will begin construction next week, with an expected completion in about eight months.