LewisGale Pulaski celebrates 50 years
By WILLIAM PAINE
LewisGale Hospital Pulaski employees, members of the Board of Trustees and several local dignitaries braved a cold blustery Wednesday morning to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of LewisGale Pulaski Hospital’s location on Lee Highway.
Shayne Dwyer, LewisGale Hospital Pulaski Director of Marketing and Public relations emceed the event, which included a symbolic gauze cutting ceremony and a reception afterwards.
After Reverend Terrie Sternberg gave the invocation, LewisGale Hospital Pulaski CEO Sean Pressman gave his remarks.
“Welcome and thank you for joining us on this very special day,” said Pressman. “Today marks an exciting and momentous milestone. Fifty years ago, what we now know as LewisGale Hospital Pulaski opened its doors for the very first time. Since then, our colleagues, some who have been here since the very beginning, have delivered comprehensive health care to this community through pandemic, through recession through natural disasters, the people of Pulaski and the New River Valley have been able to count on LewisGale … by the numbers, 50 years equates to well over 3 million patient encounters here on this campus. ER visits, inpatient stays, lab tests, cancer screenings and surgical treatments. Lives saved, lives improved. A community made healthier by the work of this hospital and its people.”
Next, Karanita Ojomo, a Radiation Oncologist at the hospital who serves as the Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, gave her remarks.
“The first line of our mission above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life,” said Ojomo. “’We treat those we serve with compassion and kindness’ has never rang truer than today. Since the hospital’s first inception in 1950, we continue to accomplish our mission. Commitment to care includes growth, hard work and compassion. Improvement of human life includes, we show up and we deliver. On this 50th anniversary, we can humbly say we have grown beyond the dreams of the original founders. What was once a seven-bed hospital is now a licensed 147 bed facility.”
“Our mission statement is the living aspect of LewisGale Hospital Pulaski continuing to serve our patients, community and each other,” Ojomo continued. “Our hospital is highly regarded at Southwest Virginia and sets the bar for exceptional excellence and rural health care. We moved to Route 11 in 1973 and the last 50 years we’ve employed over 300 individuals and 50 affiliated physicians. We hold accreditation from the American College of Cardiology and Chest Pain, the American College of Surgery Commission on Cancer, the American College of Radiology and Radiation Oncology. We also have many other accolades and honorable mentions …as a resident of Pulaski, a physician and at times a patient here, I am honored to congratulate and celebrate this 50th Anniversary.”
Pulaski Mayor Shannon Collins then took his place at the podium.
“I am happy to share this proclamation from the town council,” said Collins.
“Whereas LewisGale Hospital Pulaski is a landmark hospital in the community and since 1973 has served the area from its current location with 147 licensed beds and an expansive range of inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and emergency care services.
And whereas LewisGale Hospital Pulaski’s community roots run deep. In 1915, the General Chemical Company founded the Pulaski Hospital Association to operate a seven bed Cottage Hospital. In 1926, Dr. D S. diver, Dr. R. F. Thornhill, Dr. R. H. Pauling and Dr. H.R. Farley founded Pulaski Hospital Incorporated and built Pulaski General Hospital on Randolph Avenue downtown Pulaski.
Finally in 1973, the new $3 million state of the art Hospital was built on the 23-acre site on Pulaski’s northern corporate limits on Route 11.
And whereas LewisGale Hospital Pulaski has won numerous prestigious awards and recognitions throughout history and is committed to providing quality health care, while making a difference in patients and family lives.
Whereas above all else LewisGale Hospital Pulaski is committed to an improvement of human life with a vision to be recognized as a health care provider and employer of choice in the New River Valley.
And whereas since 1973 Lewis Gale Hospital Pulaski has significantly invested to keep their facility on the leading edge of technology and provide the best possible patient experience continually working to serve the community by delivering top quality, cost effective health care throughout the region.
And whereas for 50 years LewisGale Hospital Pulaski has partnered with community organizations to promote health and wellness, the hospital’s staff, physicians and volunteers providing on site health education, free health screenings, counseling, event speakers, blood drives and more.
Now, therefore, the town council of the town of Pulaski do hereby congratulate LewisGale Hospital Pulaski on 50 years of delivering comprehensive health care to residents of the Town of Pulaski, Pulaski County and the New River Valley.”
After the speeches were given, the ceremonial gauze was cut, photos were taken and those in attendance eagerly went inside, out of the cold and into the reception area.
There, Dr. Ojomo, Radiation Oncologist at the Cancer center, talked with reporters.
“In addition to being on the Board of Trustees, I’m also a physician here in the cancer center and have been here since 1999,” said Ojomo. “The hospital has grown because of community and the hospital will continue to serve such a wonderful community. It being a community hospital, though, it has all the fixings and trappings and technology of what would be found in a metropolitan city. Even patients from other metropolitan cities come here to receive their cancer care and their surgery, as well as X rays and we have an excellent, excellent Cancer Care Center. We have such a robust cancer center that we are the only Cancer Center that is ACR accredited in the southwest Virginia area and that is a major accolade for us.”
LewisGale Hospital Pulaski CEO Sean Pressman also made himself available for interviews.
“In an emergency people need to have access to care close by and first and foremost, we know we provide that service and we provide it at a high level, which is something we’re very proud of. It’s so critically important for patients to be able to receive care where they live, so that their family and their friends can visit and help them support them on a healing journey.”
“The other really positive impact of a hospital is the economic engine that it creates not just from the people that it employs and the taxes that it pays but also it’s a huge resource for our economic development and our county and town administrators in recruiting new businesses to come to this community. Because when you have a strong hospital and great health care, it’s an easier pitch to those organizations who are maybe looking for a new place to build a plant to start a company.”
“I would just say that I’m really, really proud of all of our staff,” Pressman Continued. “Our medical staff are colleagues who have showed up for work for the last 50 years to make this a healthy community.”