NORMAN — Two hospitals came together to support each other as Norman Regional Health System presented a check for $48,000 to Winston Medical Center in Louisville, Miss. All of the donated funds will go toward providing assistance for employees of Winston Medical Center who were affected by a recent tornado.
Norman Regional Health System President and CEO David Whitaker along with Anne Clouse, executive director of the Norman Regional Health Foundation, and Jime Wade, foundation board member, all paid it forward to the disaster-stricken community last week. Paul Black, Winston Medical Center CFO, Will Hill, the mayor of Louisville, and hospital board members all attended the check presentation.
After the May 20, 2013 tornado devastated Moore Medical Center many Norman Regional Health System employees were affected and had to deal with losing homes, the uncertainty of the future, and what would happen to their careers. Whitaker said this experience of loss compelled Norman Regional Health System to raise money for a hospital that suffered similar devastation.
“A little bit more than a year ago, we lived through what those folks in Louisville, Mississippi are living through now,” Whitaker said. “When I got a notice from the American Hospital Association about the line of storms on April 28, it kind of dawned on me that it’s been a year and we’re well into our healing process. It really was time to pay back those favors and pay it forward.”
Winston Medical Center’s hospital was a total loss in the disaster and its nursing home also suffered damage. Employees are currently working out of a temporary, modular hospital. Whitaker said a food truck had been converted to a state-approved hospital kitchen and that the nursing home was expected to open 60 beds by September 1.
Whitaker got in touch with Black only a few days after Winston Medical Center was hit by a tornado, so that he could offer support and advice on what to expect in the recovery and rebuild of the hospital.