The Covington County Hospital (CCH) staff and members of the community gathered last week to celebrate the hospital’s 65th anniversary.
“For 65 years this hospital has been a cornerstone in this community,” said Gregg Gibbes, CCH administrator.  “It’s a testament to the staff and your dedication hard work and service to others.”
Gibbes thanked the CCH Board of Trustees and the Covington County Board of Supervisors for their support.
“To give you an idea of the impact that Covington County Hospital has on our community, I’m going to give you a few statistics.  Our emergency room sees about 7,000 patients per year and our clinics see over 25,000 patients a year.  The economic impact this hospital has on this community is over $44 million per year. I’d like to thank all of you for the opportunity to lead this organization.”
The crowd heard from patients, employees and former adminstrators.
“Your fathers brought forth this hospital,” Patricia Moore told the crowd.
“They asked me to speak because I’m the dinosaur who’s been here the longest,” she laughed.
Moore explained that the hospital was opened in 1951 with 25 beds.
“They opened the hospital with the idea that all men deserve good, medical care at the least cost possible,” she said.
The hospital was expanded in 1956 to include an additional 19 beds bringing the total to 44 beds.  The third expansion came in 1972 when the hospital added 34 beds and a dietary department, nurses’ station, cafeteria and board room.
“Patients were offered room accomodations in private rooms, semi-private rooms and three-bed wards,” Moore explained.
Moore spoke of the legendary doctors, nurses and staff who walked the halls of the hospital.
“They are the pioneers who built this hospital,” she said.
Following Moore’s address, Irving Hitt a former hospital administrator spoke to the crowd.
“I worked at the hospital for about 25 years,” he said.  “The people here did a fantastic job and our group of doctors is as good of a group as you could find in a small community.  In fact our hospital is here because Dr. Crenshaw gave the property so a hospital could be built in Covington County.”
Each of the guest speakers praised the hospital staff and spoke of the excellent care provided by the hospital.  That was also true for Melissa Sanford Gilmore, a nurse and former patient of the hospital.  Gilmore told her story.  At 36 she experienced a heart attack, but mistaking it for an asthma attack, she drove to Covington County Hospital where she was treated and then transported to a larger facility.
“I’m humbled to be here today because of Covington County Hospital,” she said.  “I’m a strong believer in rural health because of my family.  Any time we needed to see the doctor or go to the hospital, we headed to Covington County Hospital.” Gilmore told of her ordeal and the care and compassion she received and still receives when she visits the hospital.
“I tell my own patients any time they have a problem to go on over to Covington County Hospital because they will take care of you,” she smiled.  “I honestly meant it when I said that I am humbled to be here because it if wasn’t for this hospital, I would not be here.”