Faye Boswell has been a Hospice volunteer in Alamance County for more years than she can count. For many years she has worked with Hospice patients in their homes, meeting their needs and making them as comfortable as possible in their final days. It has long been her mission – to make the final days of life as comfortable as possible for terminal patients.
In 1988, she was working in a home with a lady who was in a difficult situation. She was in her last days, but she was in a bad family situation in her home. She talked to Faye about it, and at that moment the idea came to her – a home for terminal patients where they could be cared for by professionals who were not only capable but caring and compassionate toward every patient.
A year later she formed the Alamance-Caswell Hospice League, a non-profit organization that would take as its mission the raising of funds to build a Hospice Home. With Faye at the helm, they raised enough money by 1994 to open six beds for Hospice patients.
Over the years there have been hundreds of volunteers as members of the Hospice League, raising money and supporting the home in any way. The home opened in a beautiful home on Chapel Hill Road. The house sits on a wooded knoll with a lake between the house and the roadway. As time passed, the need for more beds was evident, and now there are 22 beds in private rooms and most are constantly filled.
In the years since the home opened, more than 4,000 patients have been served in the last days of their life.
An operation of this nature, of course, needs financial support. That’s where Faye Boswell’s talent comes in. She can raise money. Lots of money. And the league followed her as she went out to find ways to finance the Hospice Home. The major event for many years was the annual Hospice Flea Market. Each year in the summer, the flea market would be open for several days in a large building in the Burlington area. Empty warehouses were used, empty facilities at the old Western Electric operation were used – any place large enough to house the unbelievable abundance of goods – anything from tea kettles to automobiles – that were donated and offered for sale.
All year, goods were collected, trucks made pickups, people drove cars filled with household goods, and businesses gave products for the sale. When the doors opened, thousands – no exaggeration – thousands came from through the Piedmont and southern Virginia. As time passed, some customers arranged vacations so they could be at the flea market. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars came in. Automobiles were donated and auctioned or raffled. Some who won the vehicles turned around and gave them back to Hospice so they could be sold again.
The flea market ended in 2009 and two operations – the flea market and the clothing outlet – were opened on year-round operations. At the same time, the Hospice Golf Classic was formed and is in its 25th year in 2015. Each year the one-day tournament has brought in from $50,000 to $70,000 per year. There have been other things as well – a holiday gala and Dancing with the Stars. All have brought in large amounts of money.
Faye Boswell was the force behind all these things working tirelessly with no pay or any desire for recognition. But she was indeed recognized in 2004 when she was named National Hospice Volunteer of the Year and was honored at a gala in Washington DC. And she has received many local honors for her work as well.
She has retired from active leadership now, but where there is a Hospice event, you probably will find her there. And she still aids patients who are served in their homes by the local Hospice.
She’s still helping others. It’s her mission.
Written by Mr. Don Bolden