Last Wednesday the nineth, was a beautiful day for the Ribbon Cutting of the Joe and Peg Greenlee Rural Health Clinic. This addition will provide space for new and improved services at PMH. This beautiful addition is a tremendous asset for our area. A new and updated workspace will be a treat for staff to work in and all employees seemed anxious to get to work. They have been waiting to utilize personal talents with new equipment, and in a modern facility. By now, it should be known this Rural Health Care Facility is way past being referred to as a band aide station. That is my two cents on the new hospital addition itself and the following is the reason why.

What I wanted to share with our readers and hospital staff is an ongoing story that goes back more than fifteen years. As an Associate Pastor, I started visiting patients at PMH, every Sunday after church. After becoming mayor, I continued the habit of “making my rounds”, every Sunday after church, until visitations were stopped, during the first quarter of 2020. Sometimes, with one or two patients, I would greet the staff at the nurses station, and being headed for home within 20-30 minutes. Other times, it would be hours, depending what was going on. I will always remember hearing that first primal scream, that echoed the halls after a husband had passed away, upon arrival at the ER. I hope you can understand, when I say, that was one of those days I wished I were gone, but glad I was there. This was all pre-COVID.

Nevertheless, there has been hundreds of times, I visited with patients from out-of-state. They were in the county visiting, sometimes camping, or in most cases vacationing at Snowshoe, when an accident or sudden health episode would require hospitalization. Often, the EMS and first responders who had picked up the patient and provided the transport would be commended for friendly and professional care, from start to finish. Without exception, I would hear nothing but good positive remarks upon arriving at the ER. Most patients would share experiences at their home hospitals. The theme was common, whether it was Atlanta, Baltimore, or Charlotte. A two hour wait in the hallway or waiting area was not uncommon. When they arrived at PMH, someone was waiting there on them. Most were surprised that we had such a facility, in such a rural area. Always, patients staying the night were surprised about the personal and continuous care. A pleasant staff member attending to every need was a pleasant suprise. This was what touched the Greenlee’s. They recognized something special in the care they received in Pocahontas County and wanted to do something special in return…and my goodness, did they!

So, to all the doctors, nurses, and support staff at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital and the Joe and Peg Greenlee Rural Health Clinic, we love you and are glad you are here. I believe the moral to the story is this. It is a lot like home and family. We are prone to fuss about those that are closest and dearest to us. Keep up the good work. You are making a difference in our world and our community.