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Jo Ellen Diehl Yeary | Generosity rooted in pride, remembrance, dedication to home

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Appalachian Community Visiting Nurses Association Fund


Care close to home

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

In December 2005, Appalachian Community Visiting Nurses Association (ACVNA) 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 the Appalachian Community Visiting Nurses Association, Hospice and Health Services, Inc. (ACVNAHHS) to find a compatible wound care strategy. Bartlett 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 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.

With over 30 years in the business, ACVNAHHS is the oldest home health organization still in existence in Southeast Ohio. The locally owned nonprofit 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 am hopeful 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 ACVNAHHS’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 Ron Strickmaker, who is also Board Member at the Foundation 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 the home health agency 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.”

To designate a gift to the Appalachian Community Visiting Nurses Association Fund, please contact the Foundation directly at 740.753.1111 or give online today . For further information about the endowment or other opportunities for making a planned gift, bequest or other type of contribution, please contact ACVNAHHS, 740.594.8226, x405.