Bunning-CenterFLORENCE – Place matters.

That’s the assessment of Dr. James Ellis, a professional counselor, chaplain and the bereavement care coordinator at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

That’s why he began lobbying for a separate place at St. Elizabeth’s facilities in Edgewood for grief support as far back as 2009, Ellis said at a luncheon meeting of the Florence Rotary Club on August 28.

“When people are seeking help with bereavement of a loved one, they are struggling,” he explained. “We need to have a place where people can physically wrestle with their grief.”

St. Elizabeth HealthCare opened a $1.5 million standalone bereavement support center in June 2016 on Loop Drive next to the Hospice Center. The new facility was renamed the Mary and Jim Bunning Community Grief Support Center in July.

The Hospice Center previously housed St. Elizabeth’s bereavement programs. The location was not ideal for grief support, according to Ellis. Some people associated it with their loss and meeting there compounded their anger issues, he said.

Grieving parents, families and people who have lost a spouse need “an emotional safe place” to meet and share stories, in Ellis’ view. He believes the popularity of the grief support center proves his point.

The 3,000-square foot center includes a “viewing room” where people can sit quietly, look outside and peacefully sort out their thoughts and feelings. The center also has a coffee shop, private counseling offices and an outdoor patio with a fire pit where people can “put down their grief on paper and burn it” symbolically, Ellis said.

The center is considering different names for the coffee shop, which is sometimes called the Death Café by people who frequent it. The coffee shop typically is called that in bereavement centers because it provides “an informal place where people are able to get comfort and talk about how to get over this,” Ellis said.

Perhaps the best evidence of the value of the separate grief center is a growing support group for widowers, according to Ellis. Men don’t typically feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings after the loss of a spouse, he said.

As many as 30 men have been gathering informally at the grief support center in Edgewood lately and the number has continued to grow. As a result, the center “is helping men who have lost a spouse rebuild their lives,” he said.

They leave those gatherings in a better place emotionally than when they came into the center, Ellis said.

Just as he expected when he started lobbying for it.


Rotarians Honor Mark and Debbie Staggs as 2017 Citizens of the Year

August 25, 2017

FLORENCE – No one was surprised when Mark Staggs turned attention at the Florence Rotary Citizen of the Year ceremony to Special Olympics volunteers. The Rotarians honored Mark and Debbie Staggs as 2017 Citizens of the Year for their 27 years of leadership of the Special Olympics of Northern Kentucky at a luncheon on Monday, […]

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Family Promise of Northern Kentucky Celebrated First Anniversary

August 2, 2017

FLORENCE – Family Promise of Northern Kentucky celebrated the first anniversary of its reopening with a perfect record for keeping its promises. The homeless sheltering program served 12 families in its first year, which ended July 18. All 12 “graduated,” according to Executive Director Amanda Speier. “We had a 100 percent success rate,” she told […]

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Weinberg Introduces Ronald McDonald House to Rotarians

July 10, 2017

FLORENCE – Mike Weinberg says the Ronald McDonald House is much more than an affordable place to stay for family members with critically injured youngsters at Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “We’re not just a shelter,” Weinberg said. “We provide all the things people are missing from home. “It’s important to us that the families feel […]

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Rotarian’s Welcome Irish Heritage Center

June 28, 2017

FLORENCE – Maureen Kennedy and Kent Covey are “awakening the Irish” in Greater Cincinnati. They founded the Irish Heritage Center (IHC) of Greater Cincinnati eight years ago. They are transforming a late 19th century school building on the east side of the Queen City into a museum, theater, library, tea room, pub and music and […]

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Superintendent Poe Talks Boone County Schools

June 23, 2017

FLORENCE – Service learning sounded like a superb world class education strategy to Superintendent Randy Poe until sixth-graders at Camp Ernest Middle School proposed a beehive pollination project. When Poe endorsed the project, they told him “we have to build them and place them on the roof,” he recalled. “I’m sitting there thinking … OK, […]

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Lincoln Grant Scholar House

May 31, 2017

FLORENCE – The results are in for the first semester for Lincoln Grant Scholar House students, and the grades are good … very good. Lincoln Grant Scholar House, which opened in Covington earlier this year, provides affordable housing and family services for 45 single parents enrolled in post-secondary education. “The exciting thing is the high […]

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Travel Tools for the Tech Savvy Commuter

May 24, 2017

FLORENCE – Didn’t expect the highway construction delay on southbound Interstate 75 over the weekend? Should have checked the Weekly Road Report for District 6 on the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet website at http://transportation.ky.gov/district-6. Didn’t anticipate that accident that backed up Mt. Zion Road (KY 536)? Could have accessed the WAZE app you can download from […]

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Host Families Needed – Youth Exchange

May 23, 2017

Update from James Glass via Jack McAllister District 6740 has 4 Youth Exchange Students scheduled for our district this this coming 2017 – 2018 school year. We are urgently looking for host families. If you or someone you know may be interested in hosting a student (remember, they do not have to be Rotarians), then […]

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May 10, 2017

Sign up here for the Florence Rotary Clayshoot!               Contact Adam Howard with any questions.

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Three Ring – 4-H and Utopia Fair is Coming to Town

May 9, 2017

No need to lament the closing of the Ringling Brothers circus this month. The Boone County 4-H and Utopia Fair is coming Aug. 7-12 with a daily three-ring spectacle of its own. “We’ve got a horse show every night, a motor sports event every night and a carnival every night,” said Sandra Cupps, a member […]

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Aviatra Accelerators Visits Rotary

April 18, 2017

Florence, Ky. – What’s in a name? The change in name from Bad Girl Ventures to Aviatra Accelerators personifies a new growth strategy for the seven-year-old women’s business accelerator in Northern Kentucky. The name change signals an expanded emphasis on attracting new clients, opening new markets and “encapsulating who we are,” said Angela Ozar, the […]

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