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Our Story

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Have you ever wondered how a community non-profit organization is created? For Hospice of Yuma, it all began on a Saturday morning back in 1979. Here is how Hospice of Yuma became what it is today.  

In 1979, a group of people came together at the Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church. There were ministers, health care providers, and ordinary people like you and me, who were interested in knowing about hospice and how to start a hospice in their own community. First, they invited the Rev. Gerald Roseberry, a guest speaker from Phoenix, Az. who spoke at the community meeting, as he and several other people had already started a hospice in the metropolitan Phoenix area known as Hospice of the Valley. 

For the next two years they organized a steering committee which met every Thursday morning at 7:00 a.m., at the Airport Stardust Motel. At one of the morning meetings, there was a new face in the crowd. She told the committee that she had heard about our group organizing a hospice in Yuma and shared that she had had some training at a hospice in Connecticut which was the first one organized in the United States. Her name was Phyllis Swanson. Phyllis became part of the steering committee.   

The steering committee team was as follows: the Rev. William D. Watkins, Phyllis Swanson, Elsie Conde, Marlene Gershaw, Kathryn Kalsman, Bill Martens, Immogene Mosley, Dr. Elwood Schmidt, Rev. Janet Small and Cindi Weber. The Rev. Janet Small would come to serve as the first chairperson of the committee and Kathryn Kalsman, would be the second. After all the planning, hard work, and meeting every Thursday for two years, it paid off. It happened! 

Around the third week of October in 1981, Hospice of Yuma got their first patient. This was a breakthrough! An exciting moment for everyone who met for two years and dedicated their own time and commitment. It was a pat on the back for them all!!! 

For the next year (1981-1982), Hospice of Yuma cared for a total of 43 patients with a budget of $10,000.00. Keep in mind that there was no paid staff. Everyone was a volunteer! During the first years of opening we had no place to store donated medical equipment until Underhill Transfer Moving Company came to the rescue and allowed us to store the medical equipment in one of their warehouses. The Yuma community is so amazing!

 

The first Hospice of Yuma Office was located at the Stardust Hotel, located off 24th Street and 4th Avenue. As Hospice of Yuma started to grow, we moved into the office complex on 24th Street and Virginia Drive. in 1991, another miracle if you would say happened, Hospice of Yuma moved into its very own building at 1824 S. 8th Avenue. A place that has been home for the past 30 plus years. If it wasn't for the people that pushed so hard and made their dream a reality, Hospice of Yuma may not be here today. We are so grateful and thankful for every single person that made Hospice of Yuma a reality! 

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