Board of directors, staff, elected officials and volunteers cut the ribbon at the grand opening of Peace Arch Hospice Society’s new supportive-care centre. (Aaron Hinks photo)

VIDEO: Personal stories shared at Peace Arch Hospice society grand opening

Society cut the ribbon to its South Surrey supportive-care centre Saturday

Elected officials delivered personal, yet emotionally charged stories at the grand opening of Peace Arch Hospice Society’s new supportive-care centre (15435 16a Ave.) Saturday.

Before the official ribbon cutting, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin shared his experience of dealing with Canuck Place children’s hospice five years ago.

Baldwin told the crowd that at the funeral of his granddaughter, Semiahmoo First Nation Coun. Joanne Charles said a prayer. Charles told Baldwin’s children that they would see their daughter again in nature.

“The next day we were at a soccer game with some of our grandchildren and there was a strange phenomenon that you don’t see too often, which was four suns in a circle. Wow, that’s kind of neat,” Baldwin said to about 50 hospice volunteers and donors.

Baldwin paused and turned to his wife, who was in the audience, and asked her to remind him the name of the phenomenon, which is a “sun dog.”

“I never even heard of it,” Baldwin carried on. “But there in the middle of the sun dog was an eagle circling up in the sky. We thought wow, that’s great, this is great.”

“That’s what hospice does, it makes it good for the community, it makes it good for the families and it takes a lot of the pain away,” he said before turning to PAHS executive director Beth Kish to thank her.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, South Surrey-White Rock MP Gordie Hogg, and hospice founder Teresa Hotell all shared stories of how the hospice community had helped them, or a friend, in a desperate time of need.

Following the ribbon cutting of the supportive-care centre, Hogg cut a sliver of the ribbon and stuffed it into his pocket.

He told Peace Arch News after the event that he has a collection of ribbons from various events, and each is accompanied with an anecdote.

The significance of this ribbon, Hogg explained, was that his mother and sister were among the first to volunteer to the society 35 years ago.

All speakers, including society director Robin Harper, thanked the volunteer effort and community donations that made the new facility a reality.

A special note was made to the Semiahmoo Rotary Club, which volunteered more than 330 hours to build and donate trellis, planter boxes, and a playhouse for children who use the services.

Kish told PAN that the new facility allows the society to offer services to children on site, which is a first for the society.

More than 250 people from the community volunteer for hospice, and Kish said that the hospice is staffed by volunteers 24/7.

Elected officials also in attendance included Surrey-White Rock MLA Tracy Redies, Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux, and White Rock Coun. David Chesney, who also sits on the hospice society’s board of directors.

White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin shares his experience with hospice:

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