Robin Williams says, "Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!' With the birds chirping in the early morning, the tulips putting on a wild display of color, and the cottonwoods turning green along the rivers, it appears all of the Four Corners is celebrating.

Spring is also jazzing it up at Connelly Hospitality House on the corner of Pinon and Lake Streets south of San Juan Regional Medical Center. The lawn is already a lush green while the pond is lively with koi fish. The splashing current of the waterfall attracts birds that bathe and drink from its water.

Connelly Hospitality House, or CHH, is a functioning example of the truth of what Dr. Seuss wrote in The Lorax: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." Through the years, generous folks in the community have made contributions of time, talent and treasure — establishing their legacy within the community. The have cared a "whole awful lot."

The House is a project of San Juan Medical Foundation, a community based, independent, non-profit organization committed to enhancing healthcare in the Four Corners area. CHH is supported by the community with donations and grants from businesses and individuals. In order to build the House, Jerry and Bonnie Connelly, local business owners as well as Western Refining, formerly Giant Industries, made the first substantial contributions. Since opening, donations and the Annual Cancer Walk-a-thon have financially sustained the House. The 34th Annual Cancer Walk-a-thon will be on September 3, 2014.

Though CHH has been welcoming guests since March 2000, many in the community do not know of its existence. CHH is a "home away from home" for out-patients who travel long distances to receive treatment for cancer. Those out-patients and their families travel from places like Blanding, Utah, Pagosa Springs, Colo., Dulce, and Chinle, Ariz.

The House also welcomes families from outside the area who have a loved one admitted to the medical center's Intensive Care Unit. Amazingly, CHH has become an international house by serving families - from Korea, Italy, Holland, Japan and other countries — who happened to be traveling when a medical crisis occurred.

There is no charge for lodging. Can you imagine what a difference that gift makes to those who are dealing with a medical crisis! Guests appreciatively comment: "This place made all the difference for us." Hospitality is the House's middle name and every guest has learned that the Four Corners area is a warmhearted community.

In addition to significant financial contributions from the community, fifty HOST volunteers generously support CHH with their time by providing coverage all day and all night. HOST volunteers come in the morning to complete housework and laundry. They come in the evening to offer friendliness. They sleep overnight to provide security. They are the "heart of the house."

If you would like to become involved at Connelly Hospitality House, please call Leslie at 505-609-2273. Remember: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not."

 

Leslie Fitz represents the Connelly Hospitality House. The House is a project of San Juan Medical Foundation, a community based, independent, non-profit organization committed to enhancing healthcare in the Four Corners area.