If you are determined to make a difference, and you are willing to take a chance, sometimes even something that seems out of reach can happen. Sometimes just one phone call can set things in motion, and the result is nothing short of life-changing.
Mr. Henry Pryce was one of the first patients to be cared for by the newly launched Well Care Hospice division. The Hospice team immediately bonded with Mr. Pryce, and they knew they had an extraordinary person in their care.
Soon after beginning hospice care, Mr. Pryce received a letter from East Carolina University (ECU) stating that he would be inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame. “The main thing on his bucket list was to walk across the stage at ECU and get his Hall of Fame award,” his social worker, Kelby Hankins, said. Unfortunately, Mr. Pryce’s health was in jeopardy, and the team worried that he wouldn’t make it to the November ceremony.
“I was inspired by his passion and how important that event was to him, I knew that if there was something I could do to help him, that’s what I was going to do,” said Kelby.
An ECU alumna herself, Kelby made a phone call to ECU to see what they could do to help. “They had never had a request like this,” Kelby said. “I told them that he is a lifelong educator, and we would like to be able to celebrate his achievement.”
ECU didn’t miss a beat and agreed to make accommodations for Mr. Pryce to receive his award in August. With coordination between Well Care Hospice and ECU, a surprise ceremony was planned at the Davie County Senior Center in Mocksville, NC, and Mr. Pryce’s family and friends were contacted.
On August 13th, Mr. Pryce was greeted with a cheer from family and friends who had gathered for the ceremony. “What is Jerry doing here?” Mr. Pryce said with surprise and delight. “Jerry” was Dr. Jerry McGee, President Emeritus of Wingate University, and Mr. Pryce’s high school glee club friend and college roommate. Dr. McGee nominated Mr. Pryce for the award based upon his lifetime achievements as an educator. “If there were a Hall of Fame for friends, Henry would be in it,” said Dr. McGee.
Words can’t express the joy that was shared when Mr. Pryce reunited with past colleagues, family members, and high school friends. He cracked jokes during the ceremony and laughed as his friends recounted high school and college adventures.
The Hospice team was joined by a variety of Well Care team members at the celebration, including ECU alumna Susan Jackson, Chief People Officer & Chief Operating Officer. It was an emotional ceremony even for those team members who had never met Mr. Pryce before.
“In my 23 years of working in hospice, this is the biggest thing I’ve ever been involved in,” said Diane Merritt, Director of Hospice.
Because of the Hospice team’s outstanding care and planning efforts, and the kindness of ECU, Mr. Pryce’s family and friends now have a wonderful last memory of him smiling, laughing, and celebrating life.