Rollingstone Respite House coming along |

Rollingstone Respite House coming along

SmartWool employees spent Friday landscaping for VNA facility

Margaret Hair

— When Kevin Lotz and about 15 fellow SmartWool employees arrived at the Rollingstone Respite House at about 8:30 a.m. Friday, they found an overgrown, mosquito-heavy obstacle.

“It had not been cleared for years and years,” said Lotz, who is director of information technology for SmartWool.

The volunteer group spent about eight hours clearing tree limbs, trimming brush and generally thinning what Lotz called “a jungle” from the area behind the house. The facility will offer respite care for terminally ill patients and adult day services when it opens.

“It’s another phase of getting the house open,” said Liza Ranftle, director of home care and hospice for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, which bought the Rollingstone house in January 2008.

“We’ve been working on the interior through the winter, and now it’s time to work on the landscaping,” Ranftle said.

Appliances went into the building Wednesday, and workers were putting carpet on the steps inside the Respite House while SmartWool employees worked on the exterior Friday. There’s no firm date for when the Respite House might open, but VNA is hoping to hold an open house as soon as August, Ranftle said.

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Cleaning up the grounds is just the first phase of completing the facility’s landscaping, Ranftle said. VNA hopes to eventually design walking paths, a gazebo and other implements to allow those using the facility to relax outdoors in an area that overlooks Fish Creek, she said.

When completed, the remodeled building – formerly the Selbe House – will provide an in-house hospice program, designed to provide comfort to patients and families when a terminal illness reaches late stages.

All SmartWool employees are allotted 40 hours of paid community service each year, Lotz said. Sixteen of those hours are spent on large-scale group projects; the company shuts down for one day in the late spring or early summer and one day in the fall for a volunteer effort. A second group of SmartWool employees spent Friday clearing a mountain bike trail on Emerald Mountain.

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