Cornerstone VNA, your local nonprofit visiting nurse association, held a special event on August 26th to celebrate the completion of their exciting building expansion and renovation. Cornerstone VNA proudly partnered with SMP Architecture of Concord, Groen Construction of Rochester, and First Seacoast Bank on this significant project, which began last October. The August celebration also included a special presentation to recognize their generous capital campaign donors and to honor their 2020 and 2021 Cornerstone Award recipients.
Guests received guided tours of the new and improved areas, which includes a new wing for Hospice, Palliative Care and Intake, expanded spaces for community programming and staff education, a dedicated family room, a dedicated mother’s room, a new volunteer workspace, and a beautiful multi-purpose outdoor patio. According to Erika Lee, Cornerstone VNA Advancement Director, “It was so much fun to be able to share the excitement of our new spaces with our donors and give them a tour of our building. We have a bright future ahead thanks to the support of so many community members and donors, and especially thanks to the work of our incredible staff, volunteers and board members.”
During the event, guests enjoyed a special presentation that included the announcement of their Cornerstone Award recipients, given to an individual or group dedicated to advancing the mission of Cornerstone VNA. The 2020 Cornerstone Award was given to Dr. Archana Bhargava, Medical Director at Frisbie Memorial Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care and Hematology, and longtime Cornerstone VNA board member. Erika Lee explains, “The presentation of our 2020 Cornerstone Award was delayed a year due to COVID-19, so we were thrilled to finally honor Dr. Bhargava for her important contributions to our organization and the community.”
Dr. Bhargava was instrumental in establishing a Palliative Care program at Cornerstone VNA in 2014. As a local physician, she identified a need in the community for this type of service and knew that patients would greatly benefit from receiving this type of support to better manage their chronic illness. Thanks to Dr. Bhargava’s vision and passion for the program, Palliative Care has grown tremendously over the past 7 years. The program now includes a partnership with Frisbie Memorial Hospital and Portsmouth Regional Hospital to provide in-patient consultations by Dr. Andrew Kunkemueller, Palliative Care Medical Director at Cornerstone VNA.
Dr. Bhargava also helped establish a special Kiddie Cornerstone Fund. The Fund, which was launched in 2016, is used to purchase gifts for pediatric patients to build relationships and ease anxiety when receiving care at home by Cornerstone VNA pediatric nurses. Gas cards are also purchased to help families with travel expenses to medical appointments. According to Julie Reynolds, RN, President/CEO, “We are very pleased to honor Dr. Bhargava for this important award. She continues to share her passion and expertise to strengthen our organization, and to improve the quality of life for our patients and the community.”
The 2021 Cornerstone Award was given to four local community Mask Maker Groups: Tara Estates Mask Brigade, Face Mask Makers from Barnstead and beyond, Seacoast Mask Makers, and Friends of Farmington. These generous area mask makers pooled together their fabrics and elastics, fired up their sewing machines and got to work at a rapid pace. They developed safe ways of picking up completed masks from each other and proudly delivered their masks to organizations around the community, including Cornerstone VNA. According to June Gallup, Quality Improvement Director, “At a time when medical masks needed to be used for patient care by our field staff, these beautiful handmade masks were just what we needed to share with our office staff, patients, families, volunteers, and caregivers.”
In the span of 12 months, Cornerstone VNA received over 2,200 handmade masks from these mask maker groups and local individuals in a show of extreme kindness. Erika Lee adds, “They were a bright and happy spot for us during a time of great uncertainty.” Attending the event and accepting their special awards were Karen Williams from Face Mask Makers from Barnstead and beyond, Kathy King from Friends of Farmington, Amy Ouellette from Seacoast Mask Makers, and Lise-Marie Descoteaux from Tara Estates Mask Brigade.
Community members are welcome to call the Advancement Department at Cornerstone VNA to set up a time to tour their building expansion and renovation. Call Erika at 603-332-1133 x1203 to schedule a tour or to learn more about how you can donate and be a part of Cornerstone VNA’s capital campaign. You can also visitcornerstonevna.org/buildingourfuture.