Comments of James A. Summersett III, President/CEO
On Knapp Medical Center’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
May 8, 2012
This afternoon, in this hospital, a new life will begin. Up in labor and delivery a baby will be born. And although he or she won’t see it now, family members have just bought a brick in our Memorial Garden to announce and celebrate the birth of that child.
And because of the care that newborn baby will receive in this hospital today, and in the days to come, that child may very well stand here, where we stand today, fifty years from now.
I am Jim Summersett, President and CEO of Knapp Medical Center and today I, along with each of you, stand at the threshold of a new half-century for this hospital. Today, we embrace its history and take pride in the foresight of those who have built it, guided it, nurtured it and sustained it.
We celebrate the dedication of the community leaders who first, back in 1958, had the insight to lay the foundation for this institution to grow and prosper. Those leaders saw the needs of the community, and they responded and met those needs.
We acknowledge the members of the Boards of Directors – Hospital and Foundation- who over the years have been so outstandingly represented by individuals such as Robert McAllen, Noble Allen, Trainor Evans and Richard Vaughan.
These men and their families represent the best in our community leaders who have supported and contributed monetarily and – most importantly- who have contributed their time, their talents and their involvement in the success and growth of this institution.
We thank the initial group of doctors who, 50 years ago supported community based health care in the town and all the members of the medical staff who have continued to support Knapp to this day.
As the current CEO, I particularly celebrate the fortitude and the tenacity of the former Administrators of Knapp. Each of them understand the perseverance it takes to do this job, and to do it well. And when the average tenure of a hospital CEO is four years, it is a testimony that in 50 years, Knapp has had but five Administrators.
So many gifts of time and money have been given through the generosity of the Knapp Auxiliary, the members of the Auxiliary have become cornerstones of the hospital. Just like a building without a cornerstone, we would fail without them.
Our employees have all experienced happy times and joyful times and – yes, some tearful times, for the patients we serve. But through all times, our employees have said “I will be here all the hours of all the days and all the years your doors are open Knapp.” But they will also say, “I will be here for you for all the bright and glorious tomorrows that you envision.”
To all who have labored for this hospital – paid professionals and volunteers alike, I say “thank you”. You have a responsibility to this community and this institution to further its mission, “To give always and consistently excellent service, every patient, every time.”
So we mark this day, this occasion, with joy and celebration. There is only the past and the future. We learn from the past, to build for the future. And the future is closer now that it was just a few minutes ago when I began.
We are grateful to and thankful for those who have served before us. They have shown us great leadership. They have shown us great courage. They have shown us great faith. And they have shown us great vision. And they have challenged us to build upon that leadership, that faith and that vision.
I want to take this opportunity to let you hear, in their own words, what the former CEO’s who have joined us here today have to say about Knapp.
Marcus E. Drewa 1961-1964
Charles L. Foster 1964-1975
Eugene J. Bartels 1975-1978
Robert W. Vanderveer 1978-2005
Now as we look to the future, we must be true to our calling. We must continue to support Knapp’s mission in the next 50 years. Our challenges are great. The obstacles sometimes seem daunting.
But this hospital, the future boards of directors, the future administrators, physicians, nurses, staff and the auxiliary volunteers to come, will not fail to keep our commitments to the people of this area. We will provide always and consistently excellent health care to all who enter these doors. And we will not turn away anyone who is in need of our services.
And so, young man or young woman who is being born today in this hospital, I say to you, live a healthy, active, and happy life. Live to be right here, in this place, 50 years from this day.
Tell them as you stand here on May 8 in the year 2062, “I was born here. They build this hospital and this memory garden for me and for all who have passed through these doors for the last 50 years.”
And then tell them this one last thing: That back on May 8, in the year 2012, my mom said to my dad just before she got in the car as was about to go into labor – she looked at him and said: “I choose Knapp”.