Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital CEO Paul Hammes learned what hospital staff thought of him as he languished on the roof of the hospital raising funds for the Yadkin Valley United Fund Thursday.
“Hugh Chatham is raising the roof to raise money for the Yadkin Valley United Fund. I’m on the roof to create attention around this important cause, have a little fun and generate donations,” said Hammes from the second-story roof of the Imaging Center, where employees visited to decide how they would contribute.
“People can give in one of two ways,” explained Hammes among the insects that enjoyed the added feast on the sunny afternoon. “People can give to keep me on the roof and they can make a donation to get me down.”
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Marc Stevens found an additional way to give.
“There is rumor to have been some flying contraband earlier,” said Hammes. “Dr. Marc Stevens threw two tacos at me. He really wasn’t trying to give me lunch, he was trying to throw them at me and hurt me, but I guess he can fix me too since he’s an orthopedic surgeon.”
“The poor guy is up there on the roof trying to raise money and he’s got no food and it’s 120 degrees out here, so we’re trying to help him out,” joked the generous doctor.
“I’m one of their orthopedic surgeons, so if he would’ve fallen over, I get to try to put the bones back together.”
Even employees who were not on site were able to get in on the fun.
“I’ve been receiving a lot of text messages from our medical staff and it seems like they all want me to stay on the roof for a very long time,” lamented Hammes between bites of contraband from under a pop-up tent.
“We enjoy seeing Paul do things like this,” said Dietary Supervisor Tonya Gentry. “He’s got a good sense of humor and is a very outgoing person.”
Surrounded by other employees from the acclaimed hospital kitchens, Gentry was encouraged to praise their fearless leader.
“He interacts with all of us,” said Gentry, joking, “We don’t want to interact with him today while he’s on the roof. I actually think it’s a great cause, but it’s sort of hilarious.”
“The Yadkin Valley United Fund is our version of the United Way,” said Hammes, who was obviously proud of the work the YVUF does.
“It’s an extremely-efficiently-run and prudently-overseen-by-its-board organization to make sure that neighbors are helping neighbors where they need it the most,” continued Hammes.
“There’s a variety of organization from the rescue squad to The ARK who are in great need and are our neighbors, and the proceeds directly benefit those types of organizations.”
The Raise the Roof event was the idea of HCMH’s Human Resources Manager Kathy Poteate and Laura Oakes, director of Marketing and Medical Staff Development.
“We both are on the board at the United Fund so we kind of champion an event here at the hospital for the employees,” said Oakes, explaining they had done the popular Ice Bucket Challenge in the past.
“We always like to do something fun and creative every year just to get people’s attention and to try to build involvement. We try to do a big event every year and we do little things throughout the duration of the campaign.”
According to Oakes and Poteate, on Thursday alone HCMH staff gave $4,598 towards their $25,000 goal, with a total of $21,598.00 raised.
This may have been largely due to calls from Hammes to those who were walking up, “This is terrible. Get me down. Have you donated? OK, there’s time.”
Certainly the personality of the CEO has contributed to the contributions.
“He’s down to earth,” complemented Gentry, “except for today.”
“We were raising a lot of money for a great cause,” said Hammes, “and we’re having a good time in the process.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.