On Wednesday, August 3rd the Ross Medical Education Center Port Huron campus welcomed Tracey Willard, the founder of Hunter Hospitality House to campus to speak about her organization and the services they provide to the Port Huron community. The concern of a loved one’s health and the uneasiness of a hospital stay can create unnecessary stress for an individual, making it hard for them to focus on recovery.
According to their website, the Hunter Hospitality House, “offers rest for the weary and heavy hearted” during these stressful times. By providing shelter near the hospital, Tracey and her team eliminate unnecessary stress, allowing individuals to focus on what really matters: the health of themselves and their loved ones.
The Hunter Hospitality House was established in 1991 when Jeff and Tracy Willard were faced with the devastating loss of their son, Hunter Eldon Willard. Born nearly two months early, Hunter lived his brief 16 days in and out of Port Huron Hospital (now McLaren Port Huron). Because of their experiences, the Willards began to dream of providing a place near the hospital for families to stay while their loved ones were in the hospital.
Then, 20 years after their dream began, the Hunter Hospitality House was opened, thanks to the help and support of many local volunteers and donors. Shortly after, in 2013, they were able to open a second home to host families right next to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital (now Lake Huron Medical Center). Because of their hard work and commitment to supporting families, free housing is available in two different homes, one next to each hospital in the city of Port Huron. The Hunter Hospitality House vision statement truly says it all: “The vision is that no one should ever have to be concerned about lodging or amenities while caring for themselves or loved-ones who are in the midst of a medical crisis.”
Tracey has a kind, gentle way of discussing the Hunter Hospitality House’s mission and Ross students were very interested in hearing Tracey’s journey. The students of the Port Huron campus had many questions for Tracey, mostly focused on what they, along with their friends and family, can do to help the mission of the Hunter Hospitality House. Tracey explained that donations are always needed and graciously accepted and it is these donations that allow Tracey and her family to continue to serve the Port Huron community. The Port Huron campus of Ross Medical Education Center was able to donate water bottles with flavor packets and encouraging notes for the guests of Hunter Hospitality House.
To learn more or become involved with Hunter Hospitality House, please visit their website at www.hunterhospitalityhouse.com, visit the Hunter Hospitality House Facebook page, or call 810-824-3679 for more information.