Following the successful start of the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Healthcare Scholarship program, Foundation President Dr. Bill Davis announced an initiative to ensure the continuation of the aid.
The foundation has been known to purchase health-related equipment including large machines for testing at the hospital as well as small ones for immediate care in the community.
“The foundation has had two successful initiatives in the past two years,” said Executive Director Vicki Clark during the January Leadership Luncheon sponsored by the foundation.
“We placed 56 AEDs, defibrillators, in our churches and nonprofits throughout the counties and our community,” said Clark. “We’ve had such an overwhelming positive response at these places so we’re very proud of that.”
As gratifying as the automated external defibrillators were, it is the scholarship program that has foundation members the most excited.
“In the last year we’ve launched a program for what we’re calling Healthcare Scholarships. We need the best healthcare that we can possibly have and we are working to encourage folks to join up in the healthcare environment and become part of the Hugh Chatham family,” said Clark.
“Something that’s very challenging for rural communities is to successfully recruit specialists and positions,” said hospital CEO Paul Hammes during his presentation at the luncheon. “It’s just hard because most positions coming out of residency want to live in an urban setting.”
It is hoped that the scholarship program will both help recruit excellent staff from other places, and also keep healthcare-headed students here at home.
“We felt like there was such great talent that lives here in our rural area and if we could encourage them to become healthcare professionals, they would more than likely want to come back home and live here and work here,” said Davis during a previous interview.
The scholarship program, which also aids those in the healthcare field who wish to further their education and certification, had a healthy start.
“We’re very proud to say that over the last year we have already raised $151,000 towards our scholarship funding for the community and our internal folks,” said Clark, “and we have our grandest party coming up, the Wine Auction and Gala on the 18th [of May]. We think it’s a wonderful time.”
The foundation also has begun recruiting for donors to help ensure the continuation of the scholarships through a “5 for $5,000 for 5” campaign.
“It’s $5,000 for five years and we are looking here at the beginning of this year to get five people out of the gate or five businesses that will make that commitment of $5,000 for five years so [they are] not just giving $5,000,” said Clark.
“We’re down to four,” said Foundation Treasurer Don Hudson of Dance Machine Productions, who was recognized by Davis as the first of the five donors at the January Foundation Board meeting.
“We are leaders in that we set the example to ask other people to follow and to help us,” said Davis. “Dance Machine Productions has decided they are going to [be leaders by] taking one of our $5,000 scholarships.”
“We really care about this community and love living here,” said co-owner Will Shover. “We see this as a way to contribute to helping our community gain future medical professionals from our area and beyond that can be a vital and contributing members of our community.”
“This is an example of what I’ve been saying about all of us,” said Davis, “that you step forward [like Dance Machine Productions]. We want to use that as an example.”
An unusual opportunity with the 5 for $5,000 for 5 scholarships is that the donors will have some say in the recipient.
“In this particular scholarship, [the donor] or his designee can sit on that board and help make the decision of who that one scholarship goes to. The donor does not have majority control of who it’s given to,” said Davis, “[but] they can steer it in a direction.
“They may not make the final selection, but they can steer it along so that they are pleased with the person who is chosen.”
It is hoped this will help individuals or businesses decide to become part of the HCMH Foundation Healthcare Scholarship program. Those who participate can expect the gratitude of the community and leaders like Davis.
“I just want to say to you personally,” said Davis, “that I thank you so much for this and that we appreciate the example that you set.”
Information on how to apply for the scholarship has been sent to local high school guidance counselors in Surry, Wilkes, Yadkin and other nearby counties and as far as Carroll County in Virginia.
For more information about HCMH Foundation activities, including the auction, scholarship program or purchasing one of the remaining memoirs by Dr. Jim Harrell, call 336-527-7457.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.