Since its dedication in 2002, the Jeffrey Vaden Chavis House has been a home-away-from-home for thousands of families while their loved ones underwent treatment at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, GA. Some of these families stayed for just one night, some for a week, and still others for months.
One such family was the Rholetter family from Macon County, NC. Department Fire Chief Terry Rholetter, Jr. was fighting a wildfire in February of this year when the wind blew the fire back towards him, causing several burns. Chief Rholetter was flown to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, and his family, including his mother Lois Rholetter, quickly followed.
“Years ago, I wondered about the families—where did they stay, how did they travel back and forth. Now I know,” Lois says.
Lois spent several weeks at the Chavis House during her son’s stay at JMS. During her stay, she found support in the staff and other guests.
“Every night around six, we all meet up at the kitchen table and talk about our days – the good and the bad. We laugh and cry together,” she says.
The families who stay at the Chavis House come from all different backgrounds and walks of life, but their circumstances and unique challenges bring them together. Through it all, the support and care given by the Chavis House staff, volunteers, and Faith partners stood out to Lois.
“I’m so thankful for and blessed by the generosity of everyone,” she says, “I have a nice room to stay in, and I can go outside to the garden for sunshine.” Lois says that her grandkids saw a photo of her soaking up the sunshine on the swing in the Hermann K. Orlet Garden of Hope, and seeing that made them want to come visit the Chavis House.
The sense of community and comfort provided at the Chavis House helped Lois and the rest of the Rholetter family during their difficult time – so much so that Lois even expresses a desire to live closer to Augusta so that she can continue to volunteer and provide that same comfort for other guests.
We are also happy to announce that Chief Rholetter and Lois have returned home and that Chief Rholetter has been making an excellent recovery! The Rholetters continue to visit the Chavis House and its guests each time they return for follow-up appointments, as we invite all of our guests to do.