What is the current status of Sojourn Center?

 

Drone view of Sojourn Center’s 27 acres of land with the building site in the central 6 acre field surrounded by woodlands

What is the current status of Sojourn Center?

Sojourn Center, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit made possible by a strong, 13-member Board of Directors and dozens of grassroots citizens of southwest Virginia. Since our beginning vision in 2007, Sojourn Center has made considerable progress toward three important goals:

  • Designing and building Sojourn Center Hospice House
  • Securing a partnership with a hospice agency operator
  • Developing community support and partnerships

Our most immediate need is to contract with a hospice agency to clinically operate the hospice house.

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Sojourn Center Timeline

2021

2020

  • January – Continued relationship with fundraising professionals at Capital Development Services, Winston-Salem, NC
  • February – Potential operating partnership declined “at this time”
    • Consultation with another potential operating partner
  • March 1 – Sojourn Center declined Option to purchase B&B property
    • Beginning of Covid-19 pandemic in United States
  • May 27 – Roanoke Times opinion article: “Why New River Needs Sojourn Center”
  • May 29 – Andy Morikawa & SC Executive Committee strategic planning consultation
  • June – Randi Lemmon, land planning consultant, completed pro bono preliminary evaluation report to provide valuation range of market value of SC land
  • August – Pro bono aerial drone photography of SC property by Shaun Lacy
  • Sojourn Center board meetings adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic with ZOOM
    September – SC and Bon Secours Community Hospice House in Richmond, VA share ZOOM consultation
  • October – Virtual ZOOM tour with 12 SC board/friends of Bon Secours Community Hospice House
    • Explored partnerships with several potential hospice and palliative care operators
    • SC Executive Committee attended ZOOM Re-Envisioning Philanthropy workshop 2020 hosted by Capital Development

2019

  • January – SC board member, Sue Ranson, retired as CEO of Good Samaritan Hospice; Aaron Housh chosen new CEO

  • Board members shared their Sojourn Center passion around the board table
    February – Informational program to Blacksburg Noon Kiwanis
  • March – Informational presentation to group of local medical professionals
  • April – Doey’s Hospice House Hospice of Washington County (12-bed facility in Hagerstown, MD designed by our architect, Tom Mullinax) awarded 1st place 2018 ABC Excellence in Construction / Healthcare Facility
  • Spring – Several “friend” groups toured Sojourn Center property
    • Continued friend-raising with many individuals in community
  • Friends toured the Sojourn Center property off Farmview Drive

    May – Informational program for Christ Episcopal Church, Blacksburg

  • June – Pro bono bush hogging of property by Greg Miller of Willow Springs Farms
    • Fashion show and luncheon at Blacksburg Country Club with SC as keynote for Blacksburg Battles Cancer
    • Trip of 4 SC members/friends to Forest Rest Natural Cemetery Rocky Mount, VA to explore green burial information
  • July, August – Hospice General Inpatient Bed Needs Analysis by Evolve Consulting Group, Inc. received
  • Fall – Researched and explored an option to purchase and renovate a former bed & breakfast property in Blacksburg for the hospice house project
    • Visit to Forest Rest Natural Cemetery in Rocky Mount, VA

      Conversations with potential operating partners about renovation of an existing building

    • Conversation with Blacksburg Parks & Recreation about the Huckleberry Trail
  • October – Significant donations received In Memory of Suzan Mauney, Glenn McMillion, & Bill Isenhour
    • Informational program for Blacksburg Newcomers
    • Received $1,000 Outreach Grant from Christ Episcopal Church

2018

  • January – Met with Jessica Wirgau, Community Foundation of the NRV
  • February – Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Tax Exemption Request meeting
  • May – Met with Town of Blacksburg Zoning official
  • June – Informational presentation for Blacksburg Partnership
    • Public hearing on Montgomery County real estate tax exemption; exemption passed
  • Rhonda Rogers and Anne Campbell participated in the AARP/VCOM Health Fair

    July – Met with John Eustis, New River Land Trust

  • August – Attended one-day non-profit development conference in Asheville, NC sponsored by Capital Development
  • September – Met with VA Delegate Chris Hurst
    • Sojourn Center participants in AARP/VCOM Health Fair
    • Met with Blacksburg Town Council work session re: real estate tax exemption
  • October – Blacksburg Town Council Public Hearing re: tax exemption, passed favorably 7 – 0
Map of the Sojourn Center property donated by Roger Woody

2017

  • February – Met with Karen Roberto and Pam Teaster, Virginia Tech Department of Gerontology
    • Interview with Roanoke Times medical editor, Luanne Rife
  • March – 2nd grant from JMM for services of Rob Glenn, RG Research, LLC, non-profit consultant, to advise SC board
  • May – Launched new website designed by Automations Creations, Inc.
    • May 22 Donation of 27-acres of land from Roger Woody!
    • Roger Woody made a 27-acres of land donation to Sojourn Center

      May 25 – SC hosted neighborhood informational session about Woody property

    • May 25 – SC Board met with Charlie Phlegar, VP of Advancement, Virginia Tech
    • May 27 – SC Board took 1st tour on donated land
  • September – 4-week hospice article series in the Roanoke Times
    • Visited Mountain Valley Hospice &Palliative Care hospice houses in Dodson and Yadkinville, NC by 8 Sojourn members/friends
    • Visited Transitions LifeCare Hospice in Raleigh, NC
  • Board met with Allan Burroughs of Capital Development in Winston-Salem

    October – Withdrawal from LOI by a potential operating partner

  • December – Met with Capital Development Services from Winston-Salem, NC. Capital Development, Allan Burroughs, President, selected as SC fundraising consultants
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2016

  • February – Met with agency COO, CFO re: potential partnership
  • Board member, Rick DiSalvo, is always fun on a road trip!

    March – Draper Aden Associates Civil Engineering Company and Blaine Keesee, landscape architect, offered pro bono Phase 1 Environmental Study Assessment report on possible land donation property from Roger Woody

  • March – Met with potential operating partner CFO re: pro forma
    • Discussion with Kissito PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly, Josh McGilliard, Executive Director) re: NRV program
  • April – Met with Blacksburg Zoning and Planning Departments
    • Signed LOI (Letter of Intent) to partner with area hospice agency
  • May – Completion of Phase 1 ESA study by Draper Aden
  • July – Formation and meeting of Ad Hoc Steering Committee re: Capital Campaign; Charles & Nancy Warren, facilitators; Ray Smoot, Jim Rakes, Bob Sterrett, Lindsay West, Anne Campbell & Rob Glenn
    • July – Met with Roger Woody and Jim Wesel, CPA to discuss land donation
  • Summer – Completed contractual relationship with Balzer & Associates
    • Continued conversations with potential operator
  • September – Meeting of SC Ad Hoc Committee
    • SC participant in AARP/VCOM Health Fair Christiansburg
  • Fall – Research and informational meetings with potential operator
    • Met with John Leehman, neighborhood leader of homes adjacent to Woody property
    • Met with Craig Meadows, Montgomery County Administrator re: real estate tax exemption
    • Informational presentation for Lion’s Club
  • December – Met with Blacksburg Town Manager, Marc Vermeil, and Town Attorney, Larry Spencer, and John Bush, town council and SC board member
    • Met with Warm Hearth CEO, Ferne Moschella

2015

  • Peyton Hospice House in Lewisburg, WV

    January – Visited Peyton Hospice House of HospiceCare in Lewisburg, WV

  • February – Met with potential operating partner’s COO, director of hospice and Larry Robertson, President of HospiceCare in WV
  • March – Conference call with National Association for Home Care & Hospice re: multiagency efforts in the United States
  • October – Warm Hearth & Carilion partner together to build and operate a medical clinic at Warm Hearth Village
    • Met with leadership team: COO, CFO, Hospice Director to discuss partnership
  • Patient bedroom at Peyton Hospice House

    November – SC Land Team met with Roger Woody to discuss idea of 27-acre land donation to Sojourn Center

2014

  • Spring – Visited directors/representatives of all area hospice agencies
  • April – Conference calls with Tim Rogers, President CEO Association of Home Care and Hospice of North Carolina
    • Met with Delegate Joseph Yost
  • Gardens at the Crystal Coast Hospice House, Newport, NC

    April – Donation of $10,000 from Dr. Harry McCoy, his monetary award upon receiving the Frist Humanitarian National Award of HCA

  • July – Met with Virginia Department of Health Office of Licensure & Certification in Richmond on options for multiagency leadership in a hospice house project
  • August – Visited Crystal Coast Hospice House in Newport, NC

2013

  • February – Met with Fred Kyle, Virginia Department of Health Richmond
  • Gardens surrounding North Carolina hospice house

    April – SC presentation at 7th Annual Palliative Care Partnership of the New River Valley Conference at VCOM Event Center

    • Visited Sentara Hospice House in Virginia Beach, VA
  • May – Completion of Pro Forma finance forms
    • Roanoke Times article published about Sojourn Center project, “Blacksburg Group plans New River Valley Hospice Center”
    • SC interviewed by WUVT 90.7 Table radio show
  • June – Three board members attended 3-day Hospice House Network Inpatient Conference in Rochester, New York
  • Butterflies, known as a hospice symbol of transformation, hope, life, and spirit

    September – Met with LewisGale Hospital – Montgomery CEO, COO, CFO, CNO

    • Met with potential partner’s COO, CFO, VP and hospice director
  • December – Hospice House Demand Methods & Projections for the New River Valley document completed for the leadership team of potential partner

2012

  • January – Educational luncheon sponsored by John Dooley with Virginia Tech leaders
  • Keith Curtis delivered feasibility report to the Sojourn Center board

    February – Completion of preliminary study to determine Sojourn Center’s fundraising potential with The Curtis Group from Virginia Beach

  • Spring – SC board changed model from ALF to “in-patient hospice facility” as defined by Virginia Department of Health to include care of critical patients and treatments. New focus for SC on partnering with a hospice provider operator
  • Spring, Summer & Fall – Visited approximately 70 community members, Warm Hearth, medical and hospice leaders to inform about SC including Senator John Edwards, Delegate Joseph Yost
    • Interviewed Andrew Reed, CPA with MultiView Systems in NC exclusively focused on financial management of hospice agencies and houses
  • Bedroom at Burke County Hospice House in Valdese, NC

    Summer – Received $10,000 grant from JMM grant for services of Rob Glenn, RG Research, LLC, non-profit consultant to advise SC board

  • August – Visited Burke Hospice & Palliative Care in Valdese, NC
  • September – Visited Hospice of Rockingham County in Reidsville, NC
  • October – Visited Blue Ridge Hospice in Winchester, VA
  • November – Toured Warm Hearth property with architect, Tom Mullinax

2011

  • January – Signed contract with Wes Baker of Trenchinteractive.com for web design of www.sojourncenter.org
    • Completion of Sojourn Center green mountain logo by Wayne Thomas
    • 1st printing of business and note cards
  • February – Selected Balzer and Associates architectural firm for beginning architectural programming
    • Received $4,000 grant from Luther Memorial Lutheran Church
    • Received $1,500 funding from Blacksburg Presbyterian Community Ministry Committee
  • Andy Morikawa and Linda Tegarden at the Strategic Planning Workshop May 2011

    March – Visited Bedford House president (building under construction)

    • Memorial gifts received in memory of Herb Miller
    • 1st SC flyer developed by Janet Keith Ellenbogen
  • April – Visited Duke’s Hock Pavilion Hospice Facility in Durham, NC and Duke’s Hospice at the Meadowlands Hospice House in Hillsborough, NC
    • Visited with Delegate Jim Shuler
    • Application accepted for VA Registration for a Charitable Organization
    • Continued presenting community group and individual meetings
    • Visited Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell in Burlington, NC
  • May – Visited Shenandoah House in Fishersville, VA,
    • May 22 SC Board and Friends Strategic Planning Workshop at BPC; Facilitator, Andy Morikawa, 22 attendees
  • June – Visited Burke Hospice and Palliative Care in Valdese, NC
  • Tom Mullinax, Sojourn Center architect

    July – Received $17,000 grant from Blacksburg Presbyterian Church Endowment Funds for feasibility study

    • Hired Tom Mullinax, architect/owner Hospice Design Resources as primary designer. Tom has designed over 50 hospice facilities in U.S.
  • September – SC Board met with Keith Curtis of The Curtis Fundraising Group from Virginia Beach re: feasibility study
  • November – Architectural Programming meeting with Tom Mullinax and Craig Balzer and 15 SC members

2010

  • March – Community educational luncheon at Blacksburg Presbyterian Church; 43 attendees
  • April – SC application made for 501(c)(3) non-profit status from US Treasury
  • May- 4 Visited Bowers Hospice House in Beckley, WV
  • Spring/Summer – Community presentations to Blacksburg United Methodist Church, Christiansburg Blacksburg Rotary Club, NRV Parish Nurses, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Chapter AU PEO, Blacksburg Noon Rotary
  • June – Received $7,640 endowment grant from Blacksburg Presbyterian Church
  • Summer – Consultation meeting with Minnis Ridenhour
    • Formed 3 working teams: Architect Selection, Market and Media, and Land Acquisition
    • Continued informational presentations to community civic clubs
    • SC approval for 501(c)(3) non-profit status
    • Visited Williamsburg Hospice House
  • Bowers Hospice House in Beckley, WV

    Fall – Formation of Market & Media Team: Pam Forsythe, Linda Tegarden, Cindy Easterwood, Nancy Valett, Janet Keith Ellenbogen

    • Met with Heather Gearhart from Warm Hearth about land/building availability
    • Architectural Selection Team invited proposals from 13 architectural firms from which 4 were selected for interviews;
    • Formation of SC Land Acquisition Team: Greg Campbell, Brad Denardo, Mike Eggleston, Pam Forsythe
  • December – Began architectural firm interviews

2009

  • 1st Sojourn Center logo 2009

    Spring & Summer – Developed extensive business plan with initial financial projections: Linda Tegarden, Reed Kennedy, Cindi Easterwood, Anne Campbell

    • Selected consultant architect, Tom Mullinax, Hospice Design Resources to advise Balzer & Associates
  • September – Articles of Incorporation submitted to State Corporation Committee by Steve Wagner
    • Peter Ozolin reserved domain name, www.sojourncenter.org
  • Board Mini-Retreat October 2009

    October – Mini-Retreat at BPC; Andy Morikawa, facilitator, 10 attendees

    • Peter Ozolin and Donald Sunshine presented 1st SC visual image
    • Reviewed 501(c)3 application process
    • Adopted the ALF model for Sojourn Center with the intent of creating an independent facility served by multiple hospice agencies – not a true “hospice facility” by Virginia regulations. (This plan would change.)

2008

  • January – NRV Assessment Survey of Potential Patient Referral Facilities document: 3 hospitals and 3 ALFs by Dr. Tina Smusz and Pam Forsyth, RN
  • Greg Campbell and Steve Wagner serve Sojourn Center’s legal needs

    April – Research and presentations about 11 hospice houses by 35 MBA students of Linda Tegarden, VT Business Management professor

  • May – NREOLC organizational meeting with Andy Morikawa
    • Opened PO Box 295 Blacksburg, VA 24063
    • Interim board of directors formed with Founding Members: Nancy Valett, RN, Pam Forsythe, RN, Dr. Tina Smusz, Connie Fitzsimmons, RN, Anne Campbell, Peter Ozolin, Dr. Harry McCoy, Donald & Joanna Sunshine; Founding Advisors: Financial, Cindy Easterwood; Structure, Andy Morikawa; Legal, Greg Campbell & Steve Wagner
  • June – Steve Wagner approached re: by-laws and necessary organizational papers
  • September – Reed Kennedy consulted re: business plan
  • Fall – Name Sojourn Center (suggested by Dr. Tina Smusz) chosen. Sojourn meaning a temporary stay, an interlude in a journey
  • November – Blue mountains logo designed by Aimee Drysdale Design
  • December – Sojourn Center name reserved with VA State Corporation Commission

2007

  • September – Initial meeting of ten community members to discuss establishment of a hospice house in the New River Valley: Dr. Tina Smusz, Dr. Harry McCoy, Peter Ozolin, Pam Forsyth, RN; Nancy Valett, RN; Connie Fitzsimmons, RN; Donald and Joanna Sunshine, Anne and Greg Campbell
  • October – First meeting with temporary name New River EOL Center

This we wish for you above all else; comfort for you pain, respite from your sorrow, memory unyoked from regret, and peace for today and all your days.

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