By Melody Vallieu
Hospice of Miami County depends on funds raised to continue the important work of the organization.
Susan Carrigan spends her weeks making sure that happens.
Carrigan — president of the Hospice auxiliary since 2009 — takes the lead at the organization’s downtown Troy store, For All Seasons, making sure the store remains staffed and profitable.
The store, located at 2 W. Main St., was the brainchild of Susan Walker Hemm, marketing and development director for Hospice. Carrigan said Hemm came to her with the idea of opening a store several years ago, and together they hatched a plan.
“I said, ‘I’m in it with you if you want to do this,” Carrigan said.
And so the half-retail, half-resale store was born.
Carrigan said she first became aware of Hospice services when her first husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away at Hospice of Dayton. He was 30, she only 29.
Carrigan eventually remarried a local Troy physician, Tom Carrigan, and had a son, Tucker, now a student at Miami University.
Carrigan, who now works part-time at Troy Internal Medicine, said when Tucker became school-aged, she was looking for a nursing job that fit into his school hours, and Hospice of Miami County offered flexible hours as a PRN nurse. Hospice of Miami County is a non-profit, mission-driven, community-based hospice provider dedicated to improving the quality of life at the end of life.
She remained employed from 1999-2009.
She said while working for the organization, employees of Hospice also are encouraged to participate in Hospice events, and quickly found herself enjoying being a part of fund raisers, such as the Hospice booth in downtown Troy on Friday night and even the bed races.
“It had been about seven years, so I had had enough time to not be enmeshed with people who had diseases similar to his,” Carrigan said. “I think that is an important detail.”
Today, Carrigan continues to focus on the store’s success, from shoveling the snow for opening to scheduling volunteers and going to market in Columbus with Hemm to pick the many eclectic and ever-changing items available in the store.
The store also has become a family affair, according to Carrigan. Her son, a member of the junior auxiliary, helps with the store, and her husband makes woodworking items to sell. Her father fixes the lights and paints and her mom helps Carrigan dust the store on Saturdays.
Carrigan said since opening the store, the business has been self-sustaining, with the help of the community, patients and their families and Hospice volunteers. The store allows the organization to hold less fund raisers, focusing more on the care of patients and support for families. Customers learn about the store from word of mouth and the Hospice newsletter, according to Carrigan.
She said besides Hospice patients and their families making generous donations to the store for resale, they — along with other residents — also make homemade items such as hand-sewn towels and aprons.
“They bring in nice things and they come with stories,” Carrigan said.
Overall, Carrigan said her favorite aspect of the For All Seasons store, besides the support it offers Hospice, is the customers, many of whom are family members of Hospice patients.
“What has been really neat is that people who have used Hospice or have loved ones that have passed will come in and tell their stories,” she said.
For more information on the For All Seasons store, call (937) 875-2599.
Melody Vallieu can be reached at (937) 440-5265 or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews