I was having a busy but quiet day at the office on December 22nd as 2016 was winding down. I came to the office with hopes of tidying up correspondence, meeting with folks making year end donations, and working on my to-do list for the first weeks of 2017. Several of my fellow associates were taking the day off to spend time with family and our usually buzzing office was noticeably more quiet than usual. After making several phone calls and greeting drop-in visitors, I settled down to cull through my inbox. The day’s mail was on top and I sorted through what was beneath, prioritizing what needed immediate attention. I then began opening the mail, thinking I would find a few year-end contributions and Love Light donations. I noticed a certified letter in the stack, and made a mental note that I did not recognize the distant address. As I opened the letter, I unfolded a beautiful, handwritten letter on legal paper. The contents read as follows:
“To the Whitfield Healthcare Foundation:
The enclosed donation is in memory of my late wife and is to be used as you determine best for Hamilton Medical Center. We were on a road trip south in late 2000 when my wife was suddenly stricken ill and was admitted to the nearby (fortunately) Hamilton Medical Center.
Beginning with the emergency room doctor on that night of November 14, 2000, and continuing with the care of the late Dr. William Gregory, Dr. John Poehlman, and Nurse Beth Anderson, along with many others, my wife was given the utmost professional and friendly care imaginable.
It is in gratitude for that care and the kindness shown to a couple from Ohio that this gift, regrettably long overdue but only now possible, is given.”
Imagine my surprise as I turned over an enclosed check with a substantial five figure gift to the Foundation. This kind gentleman chose to recognize Hamilton in such a profound way long after care had been given. The timing of the gift the week of Christmas was especially meaningful.
After collecting my thoughts, I placed a phone call to express my appreciation, thankful that he had included his phone number. The gentleman answered the call cheerfully and we had a nice conversation. He went on to tell me that his wife had passed away in 2002, and that this gift was something he had wanted to do for a long time. I told him how humbled and honored we were to receive his gift all of these years after their visit to Hamilton. I asked his permission to apply his gift to the development of our cancer institute, and explained the project to him. He immediately agreed that this would be a wonderful use of his gift, and I told him that we would honor his gift with recognition in the new institute. He seemed especially pleased and a little taken aback to learn that his gift would be recognized publicly. He stated that he wished to honor his wife, and was careful to make sure we had her name listed exactly as he wanted it acknowledged. As I ended the call, tears filled my eyes as we exchanged goodbyes. At Hamilton, we talk about serving our families, friends and neighbors. Here was someone who was once a stranger to our community who had become our friend and neighbor.
I’m thankful that this gentleman and his wife chose Hamilton and that they received care from our fine medical team. Who knew that someday he would thank us in such an extraordinary way? The news of this gift has touched many of our Associates at Hamilton, some brought to tears by the generosity of our friend and neighbor. And to think our entire community will now benefit from his kindness as we apply his gift toward our cancer institute. He’s joined our community as ONE. ONE distant friend and neighbor. ONE gift to change lives. ONE gift to transform cancer care. ONE gift to inspire others. Let us be ONE, too.”
Jane Snipes, Executive Director
Whitfield Healthcare Foundation