Arkansas Valley Hospice held an inviting and informative open house on Friday, showing off the improvements to their facility. One recent addition was the living room furnishings for the counseling room, donated by Juanita Hinkhouse in honor of her husband, Bob, who passed away this year. The room, previously referred to as the “Quiet Room,” is now called the “Red Room.”

In addition to providing medical service and end-of-life comfort, the Arkansas Valley Hospice provides long-term grief counseling for the families. Mark Fisher and Steve Hicks provide counseling services and also host Coffee, Comfort and Conversation sessions at AV Hospice headquarters (531 Lewis Ave.) the second Thursday of each month, from 10 to 11 a.m. and again from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Grief counseling sessions are also held at the Rocky Ford Library on the last Monday of each month, from 3 to 4 p.m. Hicks is also the chaplain of the organization and pastor of the Cheraw Baptist Chapel. Both Fisher and Hicks will sing hymns and old songs for their clients.

It's hard to imagine that the Arkansas Valley Hospice building used to house Klein’s Grocery store. It has been converted to a modern facility with file, health equipment and medical supply storage spaces. The conference rooms, offices and dining hall are spacious and well-decorated.

The crowd at the open house appeared to be a good part of the population of La Junta, all ages represented. Present to greet visitors were the working staff, as well as the head of the board, Nancy Long, of Las Animas. Volunteers and staff showed visitors through the refurbished facility.