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Appalachian Community Visiting Nurses establish endowment fund

ACVNA client Cinda Bartlett

Foundation fund supports 25-year-old Appalachian health and hospice agency


(January 11, 2007) Nelsonville, Ohio – In December 2005, Appalachian Community VNA client Cinda Bartlett developed complications of diabetes when a wound appeared on her foot. As is typical with diabetes, the circulation was poor to her wound area and the infection spread to her bone. She eventually lost part of her leg. The lack of circulation prevented the surgical area from healing. She felt frustrated at the thought of further amputation and sought another doctor.


Her new physician worked closely with ACVNA to find a compatible wound care strategy. Bartlett’s credits her home care nurse, Sheryl Midkiff, for her fierce advocacy in trying to save Bartlett’s leg.


“Sheryl was assertive and kept insisting on trying new wound care therapies until she found something that worked. She and my doctor went through about three or four types of wound care until they found the right one,” Bartlett said. “I don’t know what I’d have done without Sheryl.”


Bartlett is a prime example of the work of the Athens-based Appalachian Community Visiting Nurse Association, Hospice and Health Services, Inc. Recently, the agency recently opened an endowment fund with the Nelsonville-based Foundation for Appalachian Ohio to help secure the future sustainability of the organization and encourage agency growth. The ACVNA Fund was created to allow donors to designate their gifts to support the work of the home health and hospice organization in perpetuity.


ACVNAHHS celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2007. Appalachian Community VNA is the oldest home health organization still in existence in Southeast Ohio. The organization has served clients in Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Vinton and parts of Morgan and Perry counties since 1982.


Marnie Frey, CEO/President and founder of the organization, said FAO was an obvious choice for their endowed fund because of the Foundation’s reputation and because it is representative of the region ACVNAHHS serves. She also reflected on what the fund would mean for the future of the organization.


“It’s been a terrifically gratifying and positive experience to see our effort bear the fruits that it has,” Frey said. “I would hope that this fund helps secure our future endeavors.”


Frey pointed out the network of individuals who have helped build and support the agency and how important they have been to ACVNA’s success.


“We did not do this alone – so many people have been involved over the last 25 years,” Frey said.


One of those supporters is Athens resident and Kerr Distributing CEO Ron Strickmaker, who also is the current chair for FAO’s Board of Trustees and served on the ACVNAHHS board for 19 years. During his tenure there, Strickmaker acted as board chairman and finance committee member, among other roles. Ron’s connection to ACVNAHHS also is a family matter; his father was a health client before his death several years ago.


“My family learned firsthand about the high-quality care provided by the staff at VNA, and we will always be grateful,” Strickmaker said. “The people who understand the importance of giving back to our communities, to organizations like the VNA, recognize the strength of partnering with FAO. It is partially the resources FAO provides that will allow the VNA to continue their mission of helping folks in our communities.”

Today’s ACVNAHHS evolved from the original Athens County Visiting Nurse Association started in 1982 by Frey and fellow nurse Kathy Dansky. They recognized a need for home care in the Athens area, and their mutual love of community health was the driving force behind the creation and birth of the ACVNA. As time went on, they recognized a growing need for Hospice and paraprofessional services. This prompted the development of the Hospice and Health Care of Appalachia in 1984.

In 1997, these two agencies merged, bringing together the strengths and expertise of the professional care providers in both organizations. The new agency, Appalachian Community Visiting Nurse Association, Hospice & Health Services, Inc., recognizes that home health care is important not only in Athens but to the larger Appalachian community as well.

To designate a gift to the ACVNA Fund, please contact the Foundation directly at 740-753-1111 or visit For further information about the endowment or other opportunities for making a planned gift, bequest or other type of contribution, please contact Milena Miller at ACVNAHHS, 740-594-8226, x405.



A 501(c)(3) public charity established in 1999, the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio serves as a regional community foundation for the 29 counties of Appalachian Ohio, six of which are in the service area for ACVNAHHS. The Foundation attracts contributions for programs and endowment, makes grants for charitable and civic purposes and supports local and regional efforts for positive change. For more information, visit