BROWSE BY:     Title Number Subject Creator Digital Content

Interview with Linda A Pearce, April 17, 2009 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

pdf icon Get PDF Version
Interview with Linda A Pearce, April 17, 2009
April 17, 2009
Orphaned at 5 years,Linda Pearce came to Wilmington to be raised by her 76 year old Grandmother, with help of her Pastor Uncle and other family members she learned early the needs of the elderly. After college and 13 years at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. she came home to care for an aunt, and recognized a need for day care for older citiznes. In 1981 with the help of St. James Church loaning part of their basement, and Nancy Marks as mentor, the first "drop off" for elderly was a reality. Linda tells us about the growth, needs, changes over the years as well as insurance issues, medical staff, city, state laws, funding, volunteers, and future planning to accommodate the needs of a "graying" population. She is a dedicated member of Board of Trustees for UNCW, a longtime member of Downtown Rotary Club, and an avid church goer. A valuable resident of New Hanover county.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Pearce, Linda A. Interviewer: Jones, Carroll / Boyle, Erin Date of Interview: 4/17/2009 Series: Southeast North Carolina (SENC) Length 36 min

Jones: Today is Friday, April 17th, 2009. I'm Carroll Jones with Erin Boyle, for the Randall Library Special Collections Oral History Project, and we're in the Helen Hagen Room of Special Collections. Our guest this morning is Linda Pearce, director of Elderhaus, a daycare center for senior citizens unable to care for themselves. And you correct me anytime I'm wrong, but we went through and they're in an informal and loving atmosphere. Linda is also an involved member of Wilmington Downtown Rotary Club, and I understand always willing to help when needed. Good morning Linda.

Pearce: Good morning.

Jones: I'm glad you're able to visit us. Tell us a little bit about yourself; where you're from, your family, and what led you to you work with Elderhaus and being involved with everything with--just you, talk about this.

Pearce: Well I was born in 1946 in New York City, and my mother and father had both died by the time I was five-years old, so I got sent down to Wilmington to live with my grandmother, who reared me. Over a period of probably ten years--my grandmother was 79 to start with, when I came at five-years-old. So by the time I got to high school, I ended up more or less being her babysitter, because my aunt, who was her daughter, who lived in the same house, was a nurse and was gone, and I ended up being her babysitter. The only other thing that saved me is my aunt's husband was a pastor; so he was home during the day. But it cramped my style as a teenager, and I really escaped by going to college. And when I decided what I wanted to do for my life's work, I thought and thought hard, and decided I wanted to make a difference for families trying to keep their elderly relatives at home. It's very difficult, care giving is not an easy job, and I thought I wanted to try to make a difference there. So I worked at the Library of Congress for 13 years in Washington.

Jones: Washington.

Pearce: And moved back in 1980 to help take care of my aunt, who then was beginning to age, and started Elderhaus, which--

Jones: You started it yourself?

Pearce: Yes.

Jones: How did you come to name it Elder-H-A-U-S?

Pearce: We had a board, and the board--one day, I remember the day so well-- trying to decide if it was going to be the House of Love, and we tried to think of something that would be respectful. And we had a Bavarian man on the board who said, "Why not Elderhaus?" And we said, "Well why not?"

Jones: It catches.

Pearce: And so that's--yeah--and that's why we did it. It needs to be short; it's cheaper if it's short, if you're having to buy advertising. So we thought it worked. We get checks with 'Elder House', and we get checks with two words; it's one word, e-l-d-e-r-h-a-u-s. But it works.

Jones: Right. And when did you start this?

Pearce: 1981; we opened the doors October 13th, 1981.

Jones: Mm, mm, mm. Tell us how you went about getting the doors. Was it the same place it is now or--

Pearce: No. My same aunt nursed down at Airlie for Judge Fox, Judge James and Kate Fox, and she told them that her daughter was moving home and wanted to start this project. So they essentially, along with Jane Rhett, got me in St. James, the Episcopal Church, rent and utility free for two years, in that great hall, the Lippitt Room.

Jones: Oh yeah.

Pearce: And that, along with folks like Dan Gatolby [ph?], who wrote a letter to physicians for us. Dennis Anderson, who was the franchise owner of McDonald's in town, and still is, gave us our first $500.00 for our liability insurance. And folks like Billy Sutton helped us out with furniture. And we pulled all that together, and then started to look for clients. The one that helped us the most in getting going was Nancy Marks' husband, Ham Marks, who had been a county commissioner and a United Way chairman and president. And she'd heard about us and started to help us market, and she also brought her husband into the program.

Jones: Oh they were great--or still she is, still Rotary members, right?

Pearce: Yes she is. So we started with three people, two days a week, and did that for several months, until--and I didn't take a salary, and we used two senior aids-- that's the Title V federal program that we have sponsored by the local United Way. And used a crafts instructor from Cape Fear Community College. And we took care of these folk until we could get enough money to hire some staff.

Jones: How do the people come to you now? You screen them?

Pearce: You mean how are they referred?

Jones: Mh-hum.

Pearce: A person has to- can be referred by anybody, but a medical exam report has to be completed by their physician, and the physician determines if one of our two levels of care is the appropriate level of care. One is basically socialization, and those would be people who are depressed or lonely and don't have a whole lot of physical ailments. The other one is Adult Day Health, which adds at least intermittent nursing supervision. So those people are the old ICF level, which is the lower of the two nursing home level, eligible folks. Many people are being given care by their adult daughters, who need to stay in the workforce. So many people come to us because of that. Neighbors. Ministers who deliver communion sometimes, who see their sick and shut-in members, will refer folks to us. So anybody in the community can refer people to us. And what has been the case for the last probably 20 years is our greatest referral source is word of mouth, which means that somebody thinks we did a good job with their family members.

Jones: I guess so. Oh, Linda, how did you get that building that you're in now? I've been in it and it's very--it's a pretty spot and it's serene.

Pearce: It's at Greenfield Lake, across the street from the amphitheater. It was vandalized actually, back in the mid-'80s, and I went to the City--they were trying to decide what to do with it and considering putting a police precinct in there--and just went and asked them if we could use the building. And they let us use that. We had to rehab it, and that cost quite a bit of money but--

Jones: Sure. When was this, what year?

Pearce: This was--we opened in '86 there, and moved our Adult Day Health Unit over there. There is a gap. We were at St. James for two years, 'til '83, and then we were in the manse at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at Sixteenth and Princess, in the Carolina Heights area, for a great length of time. So we moved over here, after getting the building kind of loaned to us for a dollar a year, by a Special Use Permit, and we then put our Adult Day Health Unit over here. In the meantime, the other part of our business needed to get out of St. Paul's--they had a new rector and they were growing-- and we moved into David Jones' area over on South College Road--South Square Plaza on Carolina Beach Road--and moved in an end building there; which was interesting, but it served our purposes for five years.

Jones: I'll bet that was interesting.

Pearce: Yes, we were there actually for five years.

Jones: Really?

Pearce: In fact, we moved in the day my mother was funeralized. So that's how I know exactly when it was. And so in '95 we moved into that building; and stayed there until we could have a capital campaign and raise enough funds to renovate the city building, and then to add to it. So we've got a little over 7000 square feet at that site, and are now going to the City; and just finished the process of getting that property- to get improvements.

Jones: So you actually didn't move into Greenfield Lake until?

Pearce: We moved in '86, the Adult Day Health Unit, while we were still, the rest of the business, at Princess Street.

Jones: Oh okay.

Pearce: All of us moved over to this site we're at now in '99. So we've been there about 10 years. So we've kind of leapfrogged a little bit.

Jones: Talk about your volunteers. You screen them? You look for them, they come to you?

Pearce: All of the above.

Jones: All the above.

Pearce: We have lots of students from the university.

Jones: Do you?

Pearce: We've had students from Cape Fear Community College. We have ministers who come in, senior citizen groups who come in. So what we do is try to advertise for folks, and if you have any talent, we'll build an activity around it. Many of the people are retired teachers, or friends of these folk who are in the program. And during the summer we get--and spring break, we've just had--we get students who come in; which is so good. Family members' mothers basically want their children to be able to be around older people, and yet these are older people who are not in a nursing home screaming or picking at themselves or anything. These are--we're very progressive and positive. So it's good for our folk to intermingle and have some communication with young people. To that end, we also, because we're across the street from Sunset Park Elementary School, we have the kids over regularly. The last thing we did was have an Easter egg hunt, and our folks did the eggs, and the staff put them out, and then the kids--looked like about 400 kids came over. So we have a relationship with them. The intergenerational care is very good. The intergenerational knowledge of each other is very good; because nowadays grandmothers are 40. So we want them to see 80 and 90 and 100-year-old. They're amazed at a 100-year-old woman we have there who takes no medicine and doesn't need any help.

Jones: No!

Pearce: And we're all amazed at that, yes.

Jones: Oh, goodness sakes. Do you ever have, I'm getting ahead of myself here, cases where people are so happy they don't want to go home when their caregiver or a daughter or--

Pearce: Yes most--well most people, who don't have some type of dementia, want to go home at the end of the day because they're tired.

Jones: They're tired.

Pearce: They've been bowling and playing volleyball, and been doing crafts. . .

Jones: So these are all mobile?

Pearce: . . .and exercise. You have to be at least semi-ambulatory. And we have a new program I want to tell you about. These folk are not semi-ambulatory. But the people who are there generally want to go home at the end of the day because they're tired. We have folks who have dementia and Alzheimer's.

Jones: Oh you do.

Pearce: Who the entire day, from the minute they come in, are looking for their daughters or sons or husbands, so they can leave. When their husbands or daughters come, they tell us that when they are home they're always looking for somewhere else to go. So there is a type of anxiety that exists, and must be a part of their diseases. So we have people all day we have to deal with who want to leave. And we have had--we have security in the building because of that. Outdoors, have alarms for folk who wear bracelets that will trigger the alarm. So it's very interesting. We have folks who are very tolerant of each other who will help us. Other people who are far more functional will be another set of eyes and ears for us, if we're in another room. But it's very, very interesting.

Jones: Well it seems to me that, from what I know of dementia or Alzheimer's, that it's an ongoing disease that. . .

Pearce: Progresses.

Jones: Progresses, right. And that; I guess you have to be very gentle, but at the same time do you have people who are certified to deal with this kind of thing?

Pearce: Oh, all of our staff have had training. We've had the folk from Duke come down, the Alzheimer's people. So we've all had training. A good bit of it defies textbooks and you just learn on the job. But we have had formal training. And it gets very, very interesting, because it affects different people differently. So one never knows what's going to happen; except we know there is a general decline. We have another program. I talked a little bit--said we were going to talk about it.

Jones: Sure.

Pearce: It's called PACE. It's a program for all-include care of the elderly. And it then provides 24-hour care, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It uses our Adult Daycare Center as a hub for the program, and there is a physician who is our medical director; that's Dr. Marsha Fretwell. She has a family nurse practitioner there, Andy Weaver. And then we have nurses. We contract with recreation therapists and physical therapists--and they're in the building all day--as well as a speech therapist, an occupational therapist. So whatever these folk need, they can come to the center and get it, or it can be sent out to their homes. If they are to come in at 10:00, we have a van that will go and get them. We will have contracted with a home health agency who has sent somebody there to get them up, and bathe them and feed them, and whatever has to happen. These people can even be total lift; they cannot move out of the bed. So what we do is put the equipment there, a Hoyer lift to get them out of the bed and get them in a wheelchair, and then they're brought in to Elderhaus, and they stay there during the day for the activities. But more importantly, they get to see the physician, and all of us get to eyeball them, because we can see changes that are happening fairly quickly, because we get to know them so well. And then they go back home at the end of the day. If we need to send, contract with a service to send somebody back there, if a family member is not home, we'll do that. And we have some folk who come on weekends to help the family members. So we provide total care. And that's a program that started in San Francisco with Chinese people in Chinatown, because Chinese people take care of their elderly.

Jones: They do.

Pearce: And there are some 65 sites, in several states. It's a Medicare and Medicaid supported program.

Jones: Okay. I'm going to ask you in a minute about how that's funded, because you've got an awful lot there going. Do you ever have cases where they don't want to go home, they're so happy with what they've got?

Pearce: Yes, all the time.

Jones: Really?

Pearce: They don't want to. And some people don't want to come, some don't want to go home. Some people think it's a nursing home. And so what their daughters do in the process, if they're getting enrolled, is will bring them by at night, so they can see there's nothing there, and it kind of convinces them that this is not a nursing home. And that's kind of a scourge on the way our society deals with our elderly people. You know?

Jones: Yeah.

Pearce: They often are dropped off somewhere, and it's a nursing home, and they're there forever, and don't know it, or have some type of dementia and don't remember that they were told. So yes, that happens all the time. Because you're having a great time. Your friends there become your--these become your. . .

Jones: Become your family.

Pearce: . . .extended family.

Jones: Yes.

Pearce: Yes, you have a seat partner on the van, if we bring you in. So there are connections. As I said, your physician is there. So everything--you get a full meal at lunchtime, special diets, a snack in the morning, a snack in the afternoon.

Jones: Sounds good to me.

Pearce: So everything is provided for you. And it really does; we become your family.

Jones: How is this funded?

Pearce: The PACE program is funded by the federal government and the state. It's a capitated program, which means we get a certain amount of money each month, depending on the severity of their conditions, and it is up to us to make sure that we can take care of that person within the bounds of the limits of that money. The Adult Day Care Program is paid for by--we are reimbursed by DSS; with which we have a crisis this morning. The State Department of Aging gives us money. There are donations that are, of course, available to be made. We are a non-profit, so they're tax deductible. We have fundraisers. There is a fee for adult daycare. It's $47.00, which sounds like a lot for a day, but compared to somebody being in a nursing home, it's a fraction of it. And also we're open 7:30 to 5:30. So if it's 10 hours-- five days a week-- for 10 hours a day, that's $4.70, and you get to be picked up, taken back home, a full meal, special diets. You have a nurse, physician and everybody there during the day. So it's a good deal. And that's why the state gives us money for it, because they recognize that everybody we can keep in Elderhaus is not somebody in a nursing home, therefore which we all pay.

Jones: Okay. So this is not--Medicare or Medicaid does not come into this?

Pearce: Medicaid will pay for an Adult Day Health client who is- it has been determined needs special care, and then they will pay for it. But Medicare doesn't pay for it, because Medicare is a health program, and folks have not yet--traditionally have not yet decided that there's any value to social intervention, that can be evaluated. And, of course, we all know that's wrong. But that's why Medicare does not pay for it yet. I'm sure somewhere down the line it will.

Jones: For your equipment or upgrading of the building or grounds, have you, and can you, apply for grants?

Pearce: We do have, and we have some local grants that we get regularly.

Jones: Like the Landfall Grant and stuff.

Pearce: Well the Landfall, Champ Davis Foundation, Catherine Kennedy. There are some folks who have family foundations who give us money. We've got a large--two large grants for our PACE program.

Jones: Good.

Pearce: It was a pass-through from the hospital, from Kate B. Reynolds, 200,000, and from Duke Endowment 200,000. And that was for us to have development funds to start the program. So we do do that, and get grants. We have veterans, and the VA will pay for--of course, that's a federal program--will pay for veterans who come into our program; because it is cheaper for them to come there and go back home, than it is to be in a VA hospital.

Jones: Sure it is. Now the people you've got there on site are your volunteers, workers. Is it part volunteer, part paid people? Are they all paid, or all volunteer?

Pearce: We have a paid staff, and we are required to have a paid staff at one for six in a combination program such as ours. So for every six participants, we have a staff person. We have about 200 volunteers who on different days and different weeks or different seasons of the year come in and provide an invaluable service. It does not cost us anything. And we have, in the spring--which we're going to be having soon--a volunteer recognition. Because without those extra hands we really--I mean, we can't even have a staff meeting unless we have volunteers who are in to watch our folks, and then somebody doing an activity, and then all of the staff can at one time come together. So we meet Wednesdays at 1:00 when Alice Miller comes to play the piano.

Jones: This is a subject which is almost distasteful, and yet it has to be addressed. With the graying of America--and the country is getting older people--I imagine that you have more people now than you did five years ago, ten years ago. And have you done any projections down the road as to the capacity that you would expect to see?

Pearce: Well the PACE program, we have a capacity of--a future capacity of 125 people. To get 125 people, that's a daily attendance. We could have probably 250 people on the books. But as the population ages, and as people continue to move into this area, it's a double-whammy. The war babies, who are just beginning to walk through the system. I was born in '46. So I'm 62.

Jones: Yes, but you're a baby compared to some of them.

Pearce: Well compared to some people. But I'm considered an elderly person in the State of North Carolina.

Jones: Well the state--at least if they don't get their act together. Go ahead.

Pearce: As we start to impact the system, there are services and programs that are going to be put in place, such as the type of program I run. So we've had 27 years of experience; we've been doing this for 27 years. And we've got the kinks out, and we know what we're doing.

Jones: So are you talking to others about this, since you do have all the experience?

Pearce: Yes, I'm kind of, off the record, a consultant. I've got three or four people coming next week, for instance, to see how to get started. And I tell them that it's probably not profitable; it has not been for us, the adult daycare and adult day health. And that's another reason we started PACE, because PACE is going to be the financial salvation to the rest of the business. Folks who tend to have resources have the opportunity to send their folks to an assisted living, or to have someone in their homes. Those who are caught in the middle-class are those who are still trying--having to work, and have their moms or dads, or it's a spouse, or an aunt and an uncle, who they're trying to care for. And those are the people who, while it is wonderful that they're trying to do that, don't have the resources to do it full-time; and if you're working, you need somebody full- somewhere for them to go full-time. So that tends to be our typical client. And so it is not the wealthy person, but it is those who are struggling, who come to us. And that's why we have to have so many sources of funding. Poor people can get--or indigent people can get in through the likes of DSS reimbursement and some other reimbursement. And we have some funds where the state, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that they're not income-based; which is very good, because then you can have a pretty good income. They recognize the fact that medications and all of the other things you have to buy can spend up your money fairly well.

Jones: Oh yeah.

Pearce: So we have a couple of sources that are not income based, and that's always good.

Jones: Do you administer medication to these people while they're on the premises?

Pearce: Our medical staff does, yes.

Jones: Tell me again slowly; PACE stands for-

Pearce: Program for All-inclusive Care of the Elderly.

Jones: Okay, okay.

Pearce: All-inclusive is life and (inaudible)

Jones: That is a mouthful. Well I have to congratulate you for-- do you ever get any time off?

Pearce: Oh yes. Well I tried to yesterday actually and we had two or three things that happened.

Jones: See, you said 'tried to'.

Pearce: Well we had two or things that happened, and this DSS crisis came in the middle of the day, and I started to get calls from the news media. And you just have to always-- you have to be available. My phone number's on the building at Elderhaus.

Jones: Don't you have a life of your own?

Pearce: Oh yes, I do. Yes, I cut it off at night. As long as I can stay out and do whatever it takes. I don't like getting gaps and then have to go back out. Or because I have other things. I'm on the university board, and there's always something if you want to commit to everything.

Jones: You're very active in Rotary aren't you?

Pearce: And I'm fairly active in Rotary; not as active as I could be. It is not my number one interest. It's a good organization and they're good contacts. But at university, I'm on the Community Health Center Board of Directors; I'm on the Ethics Committee of the hospital; on the Clinical Investigative Review Committee of the hospital. So all of these things more or less happen during the day.

Jones: Excuse me, which board is it you're on for a year? Community?

Pearce: The Board of Trustees.

Jones: Oh Board of Trustees.

Pearce: At UNCW.

Jones: Okay, fine. Now they've just had a big change there, haven't they?

Pearce: Not a big one, no. They've added a couple of people. No. In the staffing they have, as of yesterday. They've done a new active provost.

Jones: Which one is that?

Pearce: The provost is Cathy Barlow. Is going to be active.

Jones: Oh she's the one, okay, okay.

Pearce: And Mr. Chapman, I think, is going into the classroom.

Jones: Okay, okay fine.

Pearce: But if you did everything the university would have you do as a board member, you would never have an evening free. So you decide what you can do and what you can't do; and that's what I do. So I put it all to rest, and try to be in bed every night at 9:00. Because I get up at 4; I get up at 4, and that's my time again, until I try to get to work at 7:30.

Jones: You have a family?

Pearce: No, I have no family.

Jones: You've got all those people.

Pearce: I have a cousin and an uncle, who is actually in my program, my uncle, but--so I don't have a family. There's nobody home angry because I'm not there.

Jones: Not even a dog?

Pearce: I had a cat, and I had to put her to sleep. She was old and sick, had cancer.

Jones: That's another thing. We've all been told, and read and heard, how therapeutic animals can be for the elderly.

Pearce: Yes.

Jones: Even if they were taken into visit. Do you ever have that kind of thing?

Pearce: We have Dobermans who come in, we have Great Danes, Labradors. We've had a bunny.

Jones: A bunny.

Pearce: We've had ducks, of course, and turtles, because we're at Greenfield Lake.

Jones: Out there, sure.

Pearce: We're contemplating getting a cat, because that's not much trouble; a kind of indoor/outdoor cat. I'm on the board of Davis Health Care up at Porters Neck as well, and they have a cat who's lived there for a long time.

Jones: That's what I hear.

Pearce: Yes, and it really is therapeutic for the folks to see. It's something that just trusts you totally; almost without knowing anything about you, they just trust you, come over to you. And just to be able to pet them and all, physicians have been able to prove that it lowers the blood pressure.

Jones: I know that. I was wondering if anybody had ever thought of buying a dog to be the community clubhouse dog, and take it home at night and bring it in the day?

Pearce: Yes, if somebody would have the responsibility. That's why we're looking at a cat, because there's less responsibility.

Jones: Yes.

Pearce: Just with even an indoor/outdoor cat, I put a litter box somewhere and they can come and go as they want. We have birds, a birdfeeder; those types of things. We have duties that different people can do. And we have a cat who comes over to try to catch the birds. So we do have a cat who comes, but she's almost a wild--she is somebody's cat, because she has a collar on.

Jones: Well that's all right. They probably look forward to seeing her.

Pearce: Yes, but animals are--

Jones: They are wonderful.

Pearce: Animals are very, very good.

Jones: Yes.

Pearce: Yes.

Jones: Once your kids leave home, you think I've got this one and he's not demanding. You know?

Pearce: That's right.

Jones: Do you have--is there anything in place right now for possible expansion, when the time comes? Or do you have to basically just start all over again by begging?

Pearce: Well we've just been granted the area that--we are occupying the area west of us, towards Carolina Beach Road. We've just been given that property. We've also been given the street behind us. We had it closed. And it's the one that runs in front of the amphitheater. So we've been given that as well. So we are getting ready to start, and have plans already done, for an expansion to more than double our building, right there at that site. And it will be kind cat-a-corny, facing Sunset Park School. So we have to plan all the time.

Jones: Sure.

Pearce: We can't work our way into it and then say, "Okay, what do we do?" So we have plans to build another building. It's about 1.4 million dollars. And we are applying for a grant to get it; either that, or we'll go borrow it from the bank, because we now have collateral, we're owning the land we're on. And, or we'll have a capital campaign; and I doubt if that's what we'll do, because this is not the time to do that, with the economy such as it is.

Jones: Right, right, and the banks.

Pearce: Right.

Jones: The local banks, particularly. I imagine in a way that would be kind of fun for you, to just start from the very beginning and plan a new building. You know what you need, you know what you want.

Pearce: Yes. A lot of it's controlled by the city, because we're there by a Special Use Permit. So there's certain things you can't do, inside or out. But we already have the plans drawn up, and have had tree surveys and all of that done. So we're ready to go, if we get the money.

Jones: If you had a--well you do have a wish-list. What would you, in your wildest dreams, what would you envision five years out, ten years out?

Pearce: Probably PACE sites all over the county, and probably one in Brunswick County and one in Pender County. We were the first one in the state. There are a couple of new ones now. But I would envision having PACE sites and adult daycare services centers all over, so as women continue in the workforce, there would be an option for them. I would envision places like the hospital or the university having something on site so that their employees could know that their mom or dad, just as some do for children--

Jones: Can visit them?

Pearce: They can visit them, and they know they're being taken care of, and if something happens they're just a building away perhaps. So I would envision the workforce and the industries--Verizon and GE and all--having these things.

Jones: They're good candidates.

Pearce: Yes. Having these things available on site; that's my wild dream.

Jones: That's really a terrific thought, isn't it?

Pearce: Oh yes. Well it's been--

Jones: It is.

Pearce: There are people working on that all the time.

Jones: Well you push for that.

Pearce: We do.

Jones: That's terrific. Is there anything else we need to know and somebody can access this. And particularly when some of this comes to pass, they can say, "Thank you Linda." That's down the road a bit.

Pearce: The only other thing I'd like to do is put our website out. It is And all of our information is on that. It'll be interesting to see, maybe five years from now, where we've come, and to be able to document it.

Jones: When you have fundraisers, do you have specific features of the fundraiser? For example, do you have a luncheon, do you have a meeting, do you have--or are you just--

Pearce: Generally what we have had--and we've not done it for the last year or two-- is we've had a banquet to recognize seniors in the community who have excelled in. . .

Jones: That's wonderful.

Pearce: . . .categories. We've done that. PACE has taken up so much time, we have had to put that on hold. Twice a year we have a jazz, kind of nightclub setting, on the university's campus. Our next one is June 27th. And we do that and use Benny Hill, who is from the university, and Rose and Charlie Lucas, who are the state's grandparents of the blues. And there are two different sets, and we get folks to come, and they pay 50 bucks to get all your beer and wine and ARA's great food. And that brings in a little bit of money. We are looking at between now and the end of the fiscal year, in order to supplement funds, doing a crabfest, on the grounds of Elderhaus.

Jones: That would be fun.

Pearce: We have end of the year mail-outs, where we get funds in. And this past year, even with the bad economy, we got $15,000.00 from folk who are using it as a tax write-off; and we recognize that there's an opportunity there for that. We have done mail-outs Mother's Day, to do things in memory of one's mother, or in honor of one's mother. So we try to do as much as we can. It doesn't take up too much board or staff time, because nobody really--by being on so many boards, I recognize how valuable a board member's time is.

Jones: What other boards are you on? That's enough.

Pearce: Only the ones I've named.

Jones: That's enough.

Pearce: And that's it; pretty much it.

Jones: We want you to get up--at least sleep until four, instead of get up at three.

Pearce: Right. And I do some things with the music in my church. I'm a director of a choir that sings twice a month. I'm on the board of trustees. So I'm just doing the things that I can do easily, and that's taking care of the buildings and making sure those things are done, as opposed to trying to take care of the pastor and the religious part of it. I do the literally that we have money to pay for the heat this month. So I do that. But other than that, I try to mentor young people; young women particularly, I try to. And I have a few, three or four adopted young ladies and young men.

Jones: I was going to say, I bet you've gathered--

Pearce: I have. I have quite--my mother, my aunt, always said I was going to have quite a menagerie at my funeral, because I've got--I know the garbage men, everybody in town. I'm kind of a grass roots type person. Because I call this my hometown, and I'm really interested; very interested in politics. And I have run campaigns.

Jones: Have you?

Pearce: Oh yes, I've run campaigns since I've been back from Washington. And I think that's really where the rubber meets the road. And it's very, very interesting.

Jones: That's a very time consuming tough...

Pearce: It can be, but it's just a--

Jones: You have to have a tough skin.

Pearce: It's seasonal. So that works well. Then I have to keep it separate from my duties, because I can't certainly run somebody's campaign that's--I'll just say a Democrat--and talk about Republicans, and then go before the Republican County Commissioners to ask for money, for Elderhaus. So you really have to--

Jones: I think both sides are a little bit stupid at times.

Pearce: Well you really have to keep it separate.

Jones: Yes.

Pearce: Yes, you have to really keep it separate. But I'm very interested in good people being elected.

Jones: Well thank you. We all are. That doesn't--

Pearce: Yes, good people; people with integrity. I don't care what the decisions are, but just if you think it's the right thing to do, then fine, that's your decision; then I have no problem with it.

Jones: Yes okay. Well Linda, this has been an eye opener. I've learned some things, and I am certain that whoever reads this, and then listens to it later, will be pleased that there's someone like you. You're giving your life to this really. It's not just a fun thing to do, or on Wednesday I'm going there. You know? So I appreciate it. And I hope I don't have to ever be in one of your places, but who knows.

Pearce: Well it wouldn't be so bad. I'll probably be in it.

Jones: I'd be disrupting it.

Pearce: Well that's a good thing. We don't want--what is it?--cookie-cutter folks.

Jones: No, I guess not.

Pearce: We've got all kinds of interesting folk there, all kinds of folks.

Jones: The day I stopped by to leave off some things for you, there was a young lady who was talking to this group, and I can't remember now, but it was almost like you were talking to a group of kids. She was demonstrating something, and I thought well that's wonderful. But I also noticed that as a stranger, walking right through the room, that all eyes are going like this, to the left, and then the right. And they probably were just curious, and it was whatever. But anyway.

Pearce: We have a sign up that says, Shhh, we're trying to take good care of our clients. We have a sign that's up there.

Jones: I saw that, I saw that, yeah.

Pearce: So it's interesting.

Jones: Yeah. Well I appreciate your stopping by.

Pearce: Thank you for having me.

Jones: And I hate to let you go, but I know you've got all kinds of things bubbling.

Pearce: Well, bless you.

Jones: But thank you much.

Pearce: You're quite welcome.

UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database
Found in:
Randall Library | UNCW Archives and Special Collections | Online Database | Contact Us | Admin Login
Powered by Archon Version 3.21 rev-1
Copyright ©2012 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign