Celebrations of Life
Forty years ago, Hospice of Wake County began with a single doctor and two nurses. Today, the organization, now known as Transitions LifeCare, serves more than 6,000 patients a year—and much of the growth has been possible because of support from partners like North State Bank.
By Beth Peterson
Photos courtesy of Transitions LifeCare / North State Bank
The folks at North State Bank know how to throw a party. In fact, their annual Summer Salute, held every May at North Ridge Country Club, has come to be known as the best beach party in Raleigh. With an atmosphere focused on fun, the live music, dancing, and adorable pink-flamingo mascot might lead attendees to think they’ve walked into a high school prom by mistake (hold the formal wear; toss in a few hundred pairs of flip-flops).
Nothing against high school proms of course, but this shindig—well, it digs a little deeper. On the surface, it might look like a well-planned beach party—and it is. But the purpose of North State Bank’s Summer Salute is to celebrate all of life’s moments while adding value and meaning to life’s final moments.
A few years ago, Larry Barbour, president and CEO of North State Bank, wanted the Wake County–headquartered community bank to support another local organization, and so he asked his staff who they thought North State should support. Hospice of Wake County, which has since been renamed Transitions LifeCare, was the overwhelming choice because it had touched the lives of some then-current board members and employees.
That was in 2003, and the two organizations formed a committee, which included North State Bank executive and event co-chair Sandra Temple along with Kit Boney of Wake County Hospice. (Ms. Boney passed away in July 2006.) The committee quickly went to work brainstorming ideas for a fundraiser: A golf tournament wouldn’t appeal to a broad enough spectrum of people, and a black-tie event didn’t seem quite right, either. According to Temple, the priority was to create an event that would reflect the heart behind Transitions LifeCare’s mission—making the most of every moment. And so, Summer Salute was born.
Since its debut in 2004, Summer Salute has raised more than $1.7 million, and every penny raised by Summer Salute goes directly into providing hospice care for individuals whose families are unable to pay for hospice services.
John Thoma, CEO of Transitions LifeCare, believes Summer Salute is one of Raleigh’s premier fundraising events. “The team from North State really does all the work; we are the beneficiaries. It has helped Transitions grow in size and scope of service; we couldn’t have grown without them,” he explains. “In 2004, we served 878 patients. In 2018, we served 6,200. Summer Salute allows us to be true to our 40-year legacy that we never turn anyone away, regardless of insurance or ability to pay.”
Barbour has a similar approach to business, and all of life:
“My purpose [at this bank] is to treat everyone with dignity and respect. Someone may come in needing a dry place to wait for the bus, but they will be treated the same as someone coming in to make a $1 million deposit.” North State Bank’s stated mission is simply “to add value to the lives of those we serve.”
And that’s what makes the partnership between North State Bank and Transitions LifeCare so beautiful—the conviction that every life has value, and that their mission is to add value to every life.