After years of planning and collaborating with donors, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital officially broke ground for its expansion project July 26. The $6.6 million project will include a new rural health clinic, as well as upgrades to the existing facility.
At the groundbreaking, the air of accomplishment could not be dampened by a downpour as hospital officials and staff, dignitaries, community members and donors celebrated the milestone.
While the project was funded in large part through a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture, there was also a very special donor who, with his late wife, made a $1 million contribution to the project. Joe Greenlee, and his wife, Peg, have been big supporters of the hospital for years and were happy to help with the project.
Master of Ceremonies Jim Strawn was the first to recognize the Greenlees during the ceremony.
“We also would not be here today without a generous gift,” he said. “A generous gift from a very extraordinarily loving and giving couple. They have supported this hospital since 2016 and, of course, I’m talking about the Greenlees. Peg, unfortunately and sadly passed away in February of this year at the age of 96. Joe is with us today – 97 years young and going strong.
“We are so, so grateful for their support and generous gift toward the campaign, ‘Building on Our Past, Building for Our Future,’” he continued. “Today and moving forward, the new rural health clinic will affectionately be known as the Joe and Peg Greenlee Rural Health Clinic at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital.”
Governor Jim Justice was unable to attend the groundbreaking ceremony, but he recorded a message, which was played for the crowd.
Justice addressed PMH staff and congratulated all in attendance for reaching this milestone. He then gave special recognition to the Greenlees and, with the help of Strawn, presented Joe Greenlee – and Peg – with the Distinguished West Virginian Award.
“First and foremost, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart about this contribution you’re making,” Justice said. “That is really important, especially to all those great folks in Pocahontas County.
“Today, I want to make a really, really special award for Joe and to Peg from the standpoint of you all being Distinguished West Virginians,” he continued. “We want to present that award to you. It’s something that I don’t do very often at all. Since I’ve been in office, six years, given away fifteen of them. So with all that being said, it’s the highest award that we can give in West Virginia. We thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Also speaking at the ceremony: Governor Jim Justice’s representative Brian Reed; Congresswoman Carol Miller; Senator Joe Manchin’s representative Ben Spurlock; Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s representative Todd Gunter; Pocahontas County Commission president Walt Helmick; PMH CFO Becky Hammer; and PMH CEO Andrew Bair.
The hospital has been through many changes since it opened in 1906 in downtown Marlinton.
It’s been through depressions, fires, financial hardships and the 1985 flood. The hospital was moved in 1995 to its current location in Buckeye and is now undergoing the first phase of its expansion.
The Building on Our Past, Building for Our Future campaign needs $1.5 million to complete the entire project, which includes the rural health clinic, addition of an out-patient surgery center, increased physical therapy/ occupational therapy services, expanded ED department, updated radiology department and a mammography department.
To learn more about the campaign or to make a donation, visit www.pmhcampaign.com