Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hospital No Longer A Dream

August 1967
  The day our community has been awaiting for years has arrived.
  Starting in 1957, there was serious talk— and finally action— to secure a general hospital for the Rochester area.
  This Sunday, the public will actually be able to see the fruits of this decade of effort. An Open House will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. It is likely this will be the only opportunity the public will get to tour the entire building. The first admission will be August 15.
  Although memories are often too short, those close to the Crittenton Hospital project over the years realized many disappointments and fears. At times it seemed that the building would never get started. Some donors became skeptical. But with the dogged determination of the Crittenton Board of Trustees, the administrator and the local campaign committee, the campaign slowly inched forward.
  ATTEMPTING TO satisfy a dozen state and national agencies to obtain approvals for money and building plans is a tremendous obstacle in itself. Then there was the disappointing moment when bids were opened and it was discovered that the cost of the hospital would be $6 million and not the estimated $5 million. This resulted in a new appeal to residents of the community and the Board of Trustees came through with a second pledge to help offset the difference.
  When issuing bouquets for a project of this magnitude, it’s difficult to know where to start or stop. Certainly the hospital Board of Trustees and Administrator A. Riley Allen must stand at the head of the line.
  Locally, we had a campaign executive committee headed by Howard L. McGregor, Jr., without whose donation of the site the building may not have ever been built. Addition of hundreds of thousands of dollars for the site may have been enough to kill the project. Dr. Edward J. Geist, Jr., was vice-chairman of the committee and banker Jack E. Taylor treasurer.
  According to our records, the executive committee was composed of Thurley Allen, Norman Barnard, Don Flinn, H. Perry Holmes, Robert J. Huber, Larry Jerome, Miss Sarah Van Hoosen Jones, W. F. Keip, Vincent J. McAvoy, Fred Mathiak, William Mitzelfeld, John Peterson, George Roberts, Dr. Joseph Stepika, Wilson Severance and Loy M. Sutherland.
  THERE WERE THEN the hard-working division chairmen that included Mrs. Joseph Watson, residential; George J. Ennis, clubs and organizations; Keith Crissman, business and professional; memorial gifts, Louis Mitzelfeld; medical, Dr. Warren B. Cooksey; memorial division, Frank R. Chapman; area division, John Capron; industrial division, Clarence J. Cadieux; government and education, John Boeberitz and Donald Baldwin.
  Some of these people have now moved away. Others are from neighboring communities that also share in the use of the hospital and success of the campaign.
  There were numerous organizations, of course, that for many years have devoted their fund-raising proceeds to the hospital… and thousand of individuals who gave or pledged money and supported organizational projects. One person, Mrs. Mary Reschke, was office secretary for the fund drive from the start and has now joined the hospital employee ranks.
  We would suspect that there will be start-up problems to iron out during the first months, as there is in any new type of operation. But we are very fortunate to have the know-how and many of the personnel from one of Detroit’s oldest hospitals backing up the Rochester unit. This will significantly ease the start-up period for this complicated business.
  WE JOIN ALL citizens of the area to congratulate those who labored for this day and to welcome Crittenton Hospital and its staff into our midst.