Shirlyn and Robin Ford have been contributors to Carroll Hospice and the Taste of Carroll fundraiser for Carroll Hospice since 2001.
Now the Fords, and their company, Robin Ford Building & Remodeling, Inc., have been named one of six Hospice Heroes for 2019, people and organizations recognized for their outstanding commitment to the hospice and its mission to care for and comfort people in their last six months of life.
The Times recently caught up with Robin and Shirlyn to learn more about their business and how it feels to have to have been recognized ahead of the upcoming April 29 Taste of Carroll fundraiser.
Q:The two of you and your company, Robin Ford Building & Remodeling, have been named community hospice heroes this year. How does that feel?
Robin and Shirlyn: We’re truly honored, as there have been so many dedicated people before us and with us now who have been passionate about supporting Carroll Hospice and furthering their mission and its impact on our community. It is a privilege to give back and so very rewarding to hear the many heartfelt stories of individuals and families who’ve been compassionately served, assisted and guided in Dove House, at home, Camp T.R. or their many auxiliary support programs.
Q: In what ways have you and your business been involved with Carroll Hospice over the years?
Robin: I would have to go back to our first encounter with Carroll Hospice, in 1991, when my mother was battling cancer and her physician referred hospice services to her and our family. We were so impressed by their compassion, respect and willingness to just be there — a calming presence at a very distressing time. This began an appreciation of their mission and the need for their services and the appreciation that as a small community outreach, additional funding is always needed.
Forwarding to 10 years later, February 2001, Robin Ford Building & Remodeling was privileged to become a part of Southern Living magazine's Custom Home Program and as new members we wanted to promote our new association and membership. The Southern Living Custom Home Program was offering the opportunity to all of their members to participate in their fall 2001 "Showcase of Homes Tour," which required building a Southern Living Homes Plan home, furnishing and decorating, and hosting an open house for the month of November. Many of the Southern Living builders elected to work with large charities, which received a portion of the modest admission ticket proceeds. We wanted to directly involve and benefit our local community, so we chose Carroll Hospice and the Carroll Children's Fund to work with and to be beneficiaries. The total proceeds of $15,207 was split between the two charities.
We also built a children’s playhouse to be raffled off to add to the proceeds. Again, in 2006, we built and hosted another Southern Living Showcase House, “Baldwin Farms,” with proceeds going to Carroll Hospice.
Shirlyn: Robin and I first attended Taste of Carroll in 2000, located at the time at Wakefield Valley, and have attended every year since. I was invited to be a part of the planning committee for the 2001 Taste of Carroll after the Showcase House Tour. I was privileged to meet many women who were passionate about the mission and it was exciting to be a part of making a difference in our community.
I was especially inspired by Karen Feroli — who later became executive director of Carroll Hospice, leading the charge for the building of Dove House — and her dedication and love of the Carroll Hospice mission. Karen had such a heart of love and compassion for those she served in hospice, and it was demonstrated consistently in her day-to-day management and interactions with patients, staff and volunteers. As a volunteer, I was just so impressed and inspired by how passionate she was, how much she loved people, and what she could do to make patients end of life better and easier. This made it easy to say yes to also serving on the Carroll Hospice Board of Trustees and to continue to serve on the Taste of Carroll Committee each year since 2001.
Robin: Each year, our business continues to be a Taste of Carroll sponsor and offers items to be included in the Taste of Carroll auction. For this year’s 20th celebration, we’re excited to add to the auction a custom table I built from a local farm’s reclaimed barn wood siding.
Q: Do you have any advice for other business owners on how they could get involved in support for Carroll Hospice?
Robin and Shirlyn: Be a sponsor for Taste of Carroll! It’s not too late for this year and the need will continue for upcoming years. This is our primary fundraiser and it helps fund our unreimbursed auxiliary programs and services. Be a Taste of Carroll Vendor! We can’t do it without you and we so very much appreciate your participation. Be a volunteer! There is a wide variety and range of talents and skills that can be utilized at Dove House, Camp T.R., Taste of Carroll and more. Each business owner can make a collectively big impact with their individual participation.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the Taste of Carroll event?
Robin: The joy I see in people who love and support Carroll Hospice’s mission.
Shirlyn: I don’t know that I can select just one. Personally, I love serving on the Taste of Carroll Committee and seeing the exciting results of our group’s hard work and efforts for the year. I think my favorite part of the actual event is meeting and greeting the guests, and seeing what a great time they are having while supporting Carroll Hospice. And, the food, of course, we can’t forget the food!