WhiteStone Shares Expansion, Campaign News with Brothers

Back in 1912, no one could have predicted the changes in healthcare and lifestyle that would increase the average lifespan, allowing all of us to live longer, healthier lives.

All that mattered that year to those who created WhiteStone as the very first continuing care retirement community in North Carolina was this: the care of aging brothers and sisters in need.

WhiteStone broke records even back then. Not only was it the first of its kind in North Carolina, it was the first Masonic fraternal home for the elderly in the United States.

It continues to set records today, providing a community with an unparalleled level of care and support for its residents – two-thirds of which are brothers or sisters.

But with time comes change. The demand for care is on the rise. The average Mason is now about 65 years old and demand statewide for senior housing is soaring, creating the need for a larger community that focuses on healthcare and independent living.

“Guided by our fraternal values of friendship, morality and brotherly love, we strive daily to provide the best services possible to nurture seniors physically, spiritually and intellectually,” Past Grand Master Gene Jernigan, chairman of the WhiteStone Board of Directors, told brothers gathered at Annual Communication 2019.

Contributions from lodges, chapters, the NC Masonic Foundation and the Eastern Star Foundation and WhiteStone have provided nearly $1.5 million in charitable assistance to brothers and sisters this past year alone. The home has seen its share of change during the years, but relief for the fraternal family has always come first. Today’s WhiteStone “is a success story, for us to celebrate as we move forward, together,” he said.

To maintain WhiteStone’s excellence and to expand it to welcome more brothers and sisters, and offer the best healthcare around, the WhiteStone board has authorized an expansion and renovation of the popular Care and Wellness Center. This expansion creates a new assisted living unit with more memory-care space and construction of additional independent living units.

Much of the cost will be covered by other funding sources, but Jernigan and Campaign Chair PGM Speed Hallman asked brothers at Annual Communication to support the campaign by raising $1 million to help fund the healthcare portion of the expansion. The board itself leads the pack in donations, already exceeding its own goal to contribute 10 percent of the $1 million goal.

“It has been a generation since we asked our brethren to help with brick and mortar needs at WhiteStone,” PGM Hallman said. “That’s when we built the Care and Wellness Center with the generous support of thousands of Masons and Stars. It’s time for our generation to step up.”

Expanding WhiteStone, he said, means “delivering more care and better care to those who came before us, to those who are counting on us.”

Lodges and brothers will be hearing more about the campaign in weeks to come. WhiteStone Ambassadors – brothers who have volunteered their support and hard work – will be out speaking about the need for the expansion and the campaign. For more information, contact Dee Blake, western region development director for the NC Masonic Foundation at dblake@mfnc.org or call 919-395-0959.

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