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Hospice of the Panhandle closes on land deal

July 19, 2010

KEARNEYSVILLE, W.Va. - Some might call Hospice of the Panhandle's acquisition of 19 acres of land along W.Va. 9 a case of coming full circle for both the agency and the family who sold Hospice the land.

The Perkins family, the seller, has a special relationship with Hospice. Family members are well familiar with the 30-year-old agency because they had the opportunity to use its services when their late husband and father, Manus "Mike" Perkins, became ill and later passed away - under hospice care - in 2004, according to a news release.

Pearl Perkins, a longtime nurse who works at Jefferson Memorial Hospital, said hospice helped her care for her husband when he was critically ill.

"I can't say enough good things about the agency - from the person who answered the phone to the nurses who answered each and every question, we were so grateful," Pearl Perkins said in the news release.

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Pearl's son, Matt Perkins, said his father was a very charitable person, and would have loved that the land on which he made his home was going to be used for Hospice's offices and a 14-bed inpatient facility.

"In fact, nurses took care of (Mike) right here," Pearl Perkins said, pointing to a small house on the southern end of the property.

The Perkins family and Hospice officials officially closed on the property on July 8. Family members returned to the site the following day for picture-taking and to reminisce about their father.

"It is just very good to have you in our county," Pearl Perkins said.

According to the news release, the 19-acre tract of land straddles the border of Jefferson and Berkeley counties. It is approximately 1.5 miles from the Martinsburg VA Center. On it will be built a 14-bed hospice house, which is designed for short-term and respite care for hospice patients, as well as consolidated offices that will house staff in Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

The pastoral setting will provide a wonderful backdrop for patients who are undergoing care in the inpatient facility, as well as their family members, Matt Perkins said.

"I just think of when they'll look out the windows and be able to see this view," he said.

Hospice officials plan to host a donor recognition event at the newly acquired land on July 29, when donors, elected officials and others who have played pivotal roles in both fundraising and planning for the facility, will be on hand for the celebration.

"We are very happy to be able to say that this land is now officially ours," said Hospice Board president and capital campaign chair GT Schramm. "It has been a long time in coming, but we knew right from the very start that this is where we wanted to be."

Hospice's project, called "Building the Dream," will cost approximately $9 million. Hospice officials say they need to raise at least $3 million locally before ground will be broken. To date, more than $1.2 million has been pledged to the campaign.

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