Community Forum, Peter Jensen: It’s people who make this place great

Do we live in a great place or what? Of course we do. But what makes this place soooo great? Well the short answer is; we do. The truth is, we love and deeply care about each other and it shows in all aspects of our lives. Sure, we wrestle with all the difficult issues that exist in every small town and community across our great country but we seem to process them with clarity, resolve and purpose. We tend to be guided by the core ethical belief that local problems are best solved with local solutions. We listen, with respect, to each other and most importantly, we embrace change. Vermonters have always seemed to be ahead of the pack in the change category. We know what our morals are and they have, for generations, honed and defined our virtue.
I suggest you spend just one day observing instances of compassion, acceptance, kindness and joy in those you encounter. It’s a task I guarantee; will make you feel better about just about everything. We are folks that tend to be open to change because these four things are ingrained within us.
In 2004 a small group of Addison County folks began to meet, in living rooms, to discuss the services available to our aging population. They were care givers and volunteers, doctors and nurses and friends concerned that some changes were going to have to be made, and made soon, if our community was going to be prepared to meet the specific needs of the increasing number of aging folks. We’re back to the, “Local solutions are best” philosophy. It takes commitment, time, enthusiasm and stamina to honestly assess any situation and determine if some form of action/change is appropriate. We are blessed to have friends and neighbors with these characteristics.
Bound by the desire to be of service, they worked with local constituencies and organizations, formed Addison Respite Care Home (ARCH) and in 2011, opened a room in Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center that was specifically dedicated to end-of-life care. It was a bold, groundbreaking change in philosophy to renovated a double hospital room into a single, home-like bedroom that would serve as a final residence. It proved to be much-needed and greatly appreciated by the patients, who could no longer be at home, and their family and their friends. Through the compassion, kindness and generosity of so many, the Porter Medical Center opened a fourth ARCH room, the Estuary, in 2015.
Now, under the umbrella of the UVM Medical Center, a much-needed renovation of Helen Porter, with a focus on ARCH rooms, will be started soon. Indeed, the people of this community do make a difference in helping to make this truly a wonderful place to live. Please consider how you may be able to encourage growth, support purposeful change and be of service in this great place in which we live. 

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