By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON —
The community celebrated a “proud moment” on Monday with the dedication and blessing of the new Good Samaritan Regional Health Center.
“This is the culmination of the vision and tremendous amount of hard work by many people,” said Michael Warren, president of Good Samaritan Regional Health Center. “We dreamed of a facility, built from the ground up ... that would be a place of healing and comprehensive care delivered in a manner that would be breathtaking.”
Warren said the atmosphere in the new facility is meant to bring a bit of home and nature to the clinical realm of healthcare, blending the ideas of many in the community.
“It is also in honor of our past which has led us to this proud moment,” Warren said.
Sister Clarette Stryzewski, president and chief financial officer of Felician Services, Inc., and chair of the Good Samaritan Board of Directors said people are what should be remembered when entering the new hospital.
“In this ministry, we take care of persons,” Stryzewski said. “The most important thing to remember is we are caring for people.”
Stryzewski also asked the hundreds gathered for the dedication to “whisper a prayer” for those who would be treated at the hospital, for the employees and those who gather at the hospital in the future to support loved ones who are patients.
“We will strive to continue to be the heart of this community,” Stryzewski said.
William Thompson, president and CEO of SSM Health Care added that the new facility is one of which to be proud, but more happens at the hospital.
“It’s not a building that creates advanced health care,” Thompson said. “It’s the people here. ... That’s what makes a hospital a truly healing place.”
Phil Gustafson, CEO of St. Mary’s Good Samaritan and vice president of SSM Health Care also said the new facility is “truly a home of healing.”
“This is a place that can provide comfort in a setting that allows for the softer side of healing to have a voice,” Gustafson said. “We want to dedicate this facility to the community ... this is truly a community treasure.”
Mayor Mary Jane Chesley said the opening of Good Samaritan Regional Health Center is “a historic moment that is here at last.”
“We are proud of this facility,” Chesley said. “It expands health care and brings additional jobs to Mt. Vernon. It’s a world class facility comparable to none. ... Mt. Vernon has the reputation of being one of the most progressive communities in Illinois. This center elevates our reputation even higher.”
Dr. Anthony Vacca, medical staff president, talked of the future and potential for growth with the new facility.
The Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton, Bishop of the Belleville Catholic Diocese, was on hand to bless the facility, and the foundation of the new hospital.
“With a facility like this place, many people will come to celebrate joy, like the joy of a new life,” Braxton said. “...This is a place where many people will come to serve the end of their life.”
In addition to the dedication, a time capsule was sealed by Warren and Gustafson, which will be opened in 2063. The capsule contains artifacts from the construction and history of the facility, as well as items from the community, physicians, staff and volunteers. The time capsule will be sealed behind a 550 pound foundation stone inside the visitor entrance.
The official ribbon cutting was completed with Stryzewski using the scissors to cut the ribbon.
The five-floor hospital has 134 beds, eight observation beds, all-private rooms and patient safety features. The hospital includes an expanded Emergency Care department and a Women’s Center and Procedure Center. The $237 million facility broke ground in April 2010. The new facility is expected to take new patients Jan. 27.