DANBURY, Conn. -- As Connecticut braced for a storm many called historic, more than 120 donors, staff, advocates and friends gathered at the new Regional Hospice and Home Care Center for Comfort Care and Healing in Danbury to witness a different kind of history.
“I can’t believe we have this kind of turnout during a blizzard,” said Cynthia Roy, president and CEO of Connecticut’s first and only nonprofit hospice. “We are finally at the finish line.”
According to Roy, the path to Monday morning’s ribbon-cutting ceremony was eight years in the making and riddled with potholes from Connecticut's hospice regulations to unpredictable weather that delayed construction.
“We actually had to rewrite the regulations,” Roy, who has more than 16 years of hospice work experience, said of the work it took to open the hospice. “It’s hard to believe we are actually here.”
The new state-of-the-art facility has 36,000 square feet of space with 12 private and pet-friendly suites. It is expected to serve about 1,000 patients in 2015, most of whom will be children, Roy told the Daily Voice.
Elected local and state officials were on hand Monday to present Roy, her staff and the Regional Hospice with proclamations and honors. Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, however, was a last-minute cancellation due to the approaching storm.
Danbury’s state legislative delegation was present to help bestow the honors. State Rep. Dan Carter (R-Danbury) chuckled as he approached the podium.
“Everyone wants to get a piece of this" ribbon cutting, Carter said with a laugh. “Everyone wants a piece of this and I’ll tell you why. It’s because these sort of things transcend politics.”
Mayor Mark Boughton was on hand Monday as well to help with the ribbon-cutting and to welcome the Regional Hospice to the Danbury community. According to Boughton, Danbury provides free sewer service to Regional Hospice, a $5,000 yearly cost. But the city’s donation is nothing compared with what the Hospice and its staff provide to Danbury.
“Their jobs are really more than a job,” Boughton said. “They’re angels of mercy who we come in contact with during the worst times of our lives. We are incredibly proud to have you.”