It was a beautiful day last Wednesday when, just a little over a year after the groundbreaking ceremony, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital celebrated the grand opening of the Joe and Peg Greenlee Health Clinic.
Unlike the day of the groundbreaking – where it poured the rain – the sun shone brightly on Wednesday’s momentous occasion where all involved in the creation of the new addition were recognized for their efforts.
PMH CFO and former interim CEO Becky Hammer greeted the crowd and thanked them for attending the dedication and ribbon cutting.
“It has been quite a journey,” she said. “It really has. I am elated to be here for the grand opening of our 7,600 square foot addition to our facility – the Rural Health Clinic, the physical therapy and the occupational therapy program. I can’t believe the last year has passed so quickly.”
Hammer mentioned Joe Greenlee, who, with his wife, Peg, made a $1 million contribution to the project. Peg passed away February 1, 2022, but Joe was able to attend the groundbreaking ceremony July 26, 2022. He passed away August 18, 2022.
“This was his dream that we could improve upon our facility and see it change and remodel, and focus on the future,” Hammer said. “I can’t thank him enough for his contributions to this hospital and what he and Peg did for us. We will be eternally grateful.”
The Greenlees were from Charleston, but had a cabin on the Greenbrier River. Their first experience with PMH left such a lasting impression that Joe made it his goal to ensure the hospital could always provide care and compassion to patients in need.
Hammer introduced Kathy Lester, who was the Greenlee’s financial advisor. Lester explained that during one of their visits to the cabin, Peg had a respiratory issue and was taken to PMH.
“From the moment they got here until the moment she walked out on her own, she was met with nothing but love and compassion,” she said. “Nurses and aides and everyone who came into her room – you have no idea the kindness that you show people, how important it is. Her life was changed as a result of that.”
Soon after, Joe contacted then PMH CEO Mary Beth Barr and asked her to “make a list” of what the hospital needed. The donations started with two breathing machines with humidity and the Hospice room and continued with the generous donation to the new addition.
“They came here to visit often when they were at the cabin,” Lester said. “So those tiny, short-lived moments of kindness that you showed her is the reason they wanted to fund this hospital because it is very unique. You do not get that kind of service everywhere, but you get that service consistently here.”
New CEO Michelle Deeds spoke about how the hospital has always been dedicated to its patients and with the growth of the facility, it will be able to serve the county and surrounding areas even better in the future.
“As everyone knows, we have always been dedicated and committed to providing compassionate, quality healthcare to meet our community needs, as well as the communities around us that we serve,” she said. “Just as Joe and Peg Greenlee came to know, it’s the people of Pocahontas County and also the people at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital that make us different.
“We are very excited about the growth of Pocahontas Memorial Hospital as this expansion is just one of the ways that we continue to meet the needs of our community, as we continue to build on our past while building for our future,” she continued. “Pocahontas County and Pocahontas Memorial Hospital – we may be small, we may be rural, but we are very mighty. As was once said, ‘never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world for, indeed, that’s all who ever have.’”
While the new addition is something to celebrate, Hammer said it’s just the beginning.
“Today we open this part of the facility, but I would like for you to know that we’re not done,” she said. “The other piece of it is going to be the front entrance to our patient access and the front end of the hospital, as well as remodeling of our core departments, radiology and respiratory therapy. We’re about to get started on that in a couple of weeks.”
Hammer recognized all those involved in helping with the expansion – from staff, to donors, to organizations and businesses – it was truly a community effort to get to the grand opening.
Also speaking at the dedication were: Brian Aluise, representative from Senator Joe Manchin’s office; Todd Gunter, representative from Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s office; Ryan Thorn, state director of the USDA Rural Development in West Virginia; Congresswoman Carol Miller; Pocahontas County commission president Walt Helmick; Senator Vince Deeds; and Senator Bill Hamilton.
After the dedication, Deeds and Hammer were joined by members of the PMH board of directors and dignitaries in cutting the ribbon at the front entrance of the new health clinic, officially opening it for business.