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The Roots of Concordia
By SaraBeth Swain and Emily Bitting

At Concordia, every day of care is influenced by the ministry's rich history of dedication and compassion to serve the needs of God's people. The roots of service were first planted in Butler County after Concordia Lutheran Ministries (CLM), the parent company of Concordia Hospice of Washington and Concordia Visiting Nurses who both serve patients in Washington and Greene Counties, was blessed with a 46 acre farm donated by the Oertels, a couple who answered God's call to serve and protect the orphans of the region. This was the beginning of a greater call to service and 136 years later the ministry is providing health and hospice care to all of His people living in Western Pennsylvania.

By God's grace, Concordia was recently provided the opportunity to share their mission of service with Washington Health System in the creation of Concordia Hospice of Washington (CHOW).  Much like CLM's story, hospice care in Washington had its roots planted several decades ago when one man answered God's call and was driven to help families dealing with end-of-life-illnesses in his local community.

Rev. Fr. J. E. Victor Carlson, a Presbyterian minister who was motivated by his wife's terminal cancer diagnosed, began researching and learning about hospice programs in the 1970s. He brought his knowledge back to his community of Greene County and created a hospice taskforce that later became Hospice Care, Inc, one of the first such programs to be chartered in the state. Hospice Care, Inc eventually moved into Washington County and continued to evolve after their merger with Washington Hospital which later became part of Washington Health System. But the roots didn't stop growing there, in fact, they blossomed with thanks to another gracious couple called to serve the people of their community.

Richard and Shana Donnell provided a generous lead gift in 2002 and were supported by many community members who gave financial donations to open the Donnell House, the only inpatient unit of its kind in Washington County.  The Donnell House now operates under Concordia Hospice of Washington in partnership with Washington Health System.

The roots mentioned were God's gifts, the home care and hospice services that CVN and CHOW provide are the fruit of the roots and the agencies gifts to all of His people in need of services in our communities.

If you or a loved one are in need of home care and hospice services or are interested in employment opportunities, Concordia welcomes you to contact an office near you. Visit www.concordiavn.org or www.concordiahw.org for office locations and contact information, an overview of services, and current career openings.

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