With the death of Dr. Thornton R. Cleek in his home in October 1981, a group of concerned people were motivated to provide the same opportunity for other terminally ill people to die at home with dignity. On December 8, 1981, the Thornton R. Cleek Memorial Hospice, Incorporated (Hospice of Randolph County, Inc.) became a reality and was incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of North Carolina.
1982 was a year devoted to organizing our Hospice, developing a Board of Directors, adopting our bylaws, and securing our Certificate of Need and obtaining “seed” money from the medical community of Randolph County.
In March of 1983, Billie S. Vuncannon was hired as the Executive Director and office space was temporarily located at the Senior Adult Center in Asheboro and then in the Brian Center later in March, where it remained until June. In June, the Hospice office was moved to a room at the Randolph County Health Department. During 1983, training was provided for 35 charter Hospice volunteers. The training sessions began in June and were completed in August. On August 3, 1983, we accepted our first patient and during the remainder of the year, Hospice was privileged to serve 28 patients.
Throughout the next few years, volunteer numbers increased, full-time and part-time staff members were hired, the organization was in “the black” financially due to allocations from the community and agencies such as the United Way. In 1985, the bereavement counseling program was initiated to serve families up to a year after their loved one had passed away.
On November 1, 1984, Hospice of Randolph County moved to yet another location – the corner of Cox Street and Wainman Avenue; however, this time the place held significant meaning for Martha Cleek and the staff. The location was the building where the late Dr. Cleek housed his medical practice.
In November of 1986, Hospice of Randolph County held its first annual Hospice Autumn Auction & BBQ. Volunteer numbers by this time had reached a total of 191. In 1987, Hospice served a total of 126 patients.
1988 was a huge year for the organization as the Federal Medicare program began to offer reimbursement for providing Hospice services. On March 9, 1988, Hospice of Randolph County received its Medicare Certification under the ID #34-1527. This was a momentous occasion as Hospice of Randolph County was recognized as a legitimate healthcare institution by the Federal Government. Also, because of the Medicare certification, Hospice was also able to apply for and receive Hospice Medicaid certification on April 1, 1988. By the end of 1988, Hospice of Randolph County had 18 paid staff members and served a total of 131 patients.
In 1991, Hospice of Randolph County would finally seeking funding to build a permanent home. A Capital Campaign was initiated in January 1991 and by the end of the year, $1,200,000 had been raised towards the building fund! Through additional funding, the budget goal of $1,900,000 was reached.
On Valentine’s Day, 1992, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new “Center of Living” and construction was officially underway. Later that year, on November 21, 1992, the Hospice staff moved into the newly constructed 15,000 square foot Center of Living located at 416 Vision Drive in Asheboro. Hospice of Randolph County ended that year having served 314 patients!
In 1994, the name of Hospice of Randolph County officially changed to Center of Living Healthcare to reflect the name of the new facility. At this point in history, the organization offered the following programs: Hospice, Home Health, Kaleidoscope Kids, Enrichment Pointe (Adult Day Healthcare), Solace, Ancillary Services (Private Pay Home Care & Homemaker/Companion Services), and Networking for Humanity (Hospice Care & Early Intervention for HIV/AIDS patients). During this year the bereavement department expanded its services to include community education, classroom presentations, grief counseling, and support for individuals & groups.
Over the next few years, Center of Living would go on to receive accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, clean audits, ever-increasing donations through special events, and more accolades. Throughout the years, programs changed with the times and to meet the needs of the community.
In January of 2001, Rhonda Burch Moffitt, MA, MBA, was appointed as the new President & CEO of Center of Living when Billie S. Vuncannon retired after almost 20 years of faithful service to the organization.
Under the direction of Moffitt, the board of Center of Living Home Health & Hospice made the decision to change its name back to the former, well-loved name, Hospice of Randolph County, Inc. in September of 2005. This decision was made in order to accurately reflect what it is that our organization does best, Hospice Care.
With Moffitt’s leadership, in 2006 Hospice of Randolph County’s Board of Directors decided to pursue a long-time dream of constructing an inpatient hospice facility in Randolph County. In the summer of 2006, Hospice of Randolph County started the application process with the State of North Carolina to construct an in-patient facility beside its current location.
An inpatient facility (also known as a “hospice home”) will allows hospice organizations to offer care to individuals who would prefer to spend their last days in a home-like setting when it’s not possible to remain in their own home.
The organization officially submitted the application in the Fall of 2006. Over 1,500 Randolph County residents responded to a call during this time for “letters of support” for the construction of a hospice home in their community. The State of North Carolina gave its approval on July 3, 2007.
Hospice of Randolph County completed its “Imagine a Home” Capital Campaign, raising over $1.67 million for the over $3 million project. On November 5, 2009, the board, staff, volunteers and others in the community gathered for a ground-breaking ceremony to officially announce the beginning of construction on the home.
In December 2010, the facility received its ‘Certificate of Occupancy’ from building inspectors. In January of 2011, the first patient was officially served at ‘The Randolph Hospice House.‘
Many years of service & support from hundreds of volunteers, staff, board members and the community have made Hospice of Randolph County the distinguished leader in end-of-life care for the citizens of Asheboro & Randolph County. We owe a life-long debt of gratitude to those to served faithfully.