Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 25, 2013

Carilion TCH celebrates 40th

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

TAZEWELL, Va. — The hallway of Carilion Tazewell Community Hospital was packed with people as a crowd of 100 or more people came out Sunday afternoon to wish the hospital and Lt. Col. Joseph A. Farley, U.S. Marine Corps, a happy 40th birthday.

Farley, a 1992 Graham High School graduate who is currently assigned to the Pentagon, was born at 5 p.m., on the day that Carilion TCH opened — Nov. 26, 1973. When the hospital’s 40th anniversary committee was working to make the event memorable, Farley actually asked if he could be put on the program so he could share a few thoughts, according to Kathryn Dowdy, RN, chief nursing officer and chief operating officer of Carilion TCH.

“If you look at what the Marines do (in terms of training), we strip them down to the frame and build them back up to become Marines and productive citizens when they leave military service,” he said. “I believe that the quality of the frame that you start with means a lot too.” He credited his upbringing in rural Southwest Virginia with providing him with that solid foundation.

Farley said he was glad to meet the hospital staff person who made out his birth certificate, but also said that growing up in a caring community made the difference in his career. “I’m proud to be from this area,” he said.

Farley said that he commutes from his home in Spotsylvania, Va., to the Pentagon daily because Spotsylvania reminds him of his home ... where his roots are.

Dowdy thanked the people for attending the event, and said that Carilion TCH remains dedicated to the philosophy that was stated at its dedication ceremony in 1973: “The Tazewell Community Hospital project developed out of a sense of need,” Dowdy said. “It is the fulfillment of a dream built on a philosophy nurtured and developed by the Tazewell community to ensure that the health needs of this area would be met now and in the future.”

James Thompson, Carilion TCH board chairman, said that the 40th anniversary represents a great moment in the hospital’s work to bring babies into the world and to save lives. He gratefully acknowledged the efforts of Dr. Mary Elizabeth Johnston (later Britton) for her work to develop the old Jeffersonville Hospital, and in making the transition to TCH.

Thompson also introduced Nancy Howell Agee, Carilion Clinic president and chief executive officer, who attended the celebration. Thompson pointed out that Carilion acquired TCH “about five years ago” and made some important improvements including the new emergency room.

Dowdy introduced several of the original employees who were attending the ceremony and also introduced members of the 40th anniversary committee. Hospital tours and refreshments in the former ICU space followed.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com