Moran says new facility helps ensure Abilene’s long-term success
By TIFFANY RONEY
Under the front canopy of Memorial Hospital’s new facility, Mark Miller, CEO of Memorial Health System, welcomed 150 attendees to the hospital’s ribbon cutting and celebration. The celebration featured U.S. Senator Jerry Moran as the keynote speaker. Afterward, hospital employees and volunteers offered refreshments and guided tours to additional visitors. Total attendance was estimated at 200.
“I would like to recognize and thank the board for their vision, tenacity and courage to pursue the construction of a new hospital – a hospital that will ensure the presence of quality healthcare in our community now and into the future,” Miller said.
Leading into the next segment of the Saturday morning event, Miller introduced Tom Bell, president of the Kansas Hospital Association.
Bell said the new facility delivers two important messages to the community of Abilene and to the rest of the state of Kansas.
“No. 1, it says, ‘We’re proud of our community hospital. We want it to be here forever, we support it, we’re going to be here for the long haul,’” Bell said. “And, secondly, it says, ‘We’re going to be here to provide quality jobs, a good way of life, an economic anchor for our community.’”
Bell went on to introduce the celebration’s keynote speaker, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran.
Moran’s speech focused on the value of community hospitals in rural America, as well as the value of individuals who work in these hospitals.
Moran shared an instance when he asked students, “Why do you want to be a nurse?
“Often, in every case, the answers were exactly what you’d want to hear – about caring for people,” Moran said. “’When I was a little girl, a nurse saved my mother’s life, and I’ve always wanted to be a nurse ever since then.’ It’s a reminder that when I talk to folks that are in the profession of caring for people, there’s a call. It’s not just a job. It’s a desire to make certain that good things happen in other people’s lives.”
Moran said his interest in hospitals, public service and politics revolves around his background of growing up in rural Kansas and believing rural Kansas live their lives in a special way that deserves to be preserved. Moran elicited a laugh from the audience as he shared a “promise” he asked of he and his wife, Robba’s, two daughters.
“I made both of them raise their hands and say, ‘Dad, I promise to be a success,’” Moran paused, “’in Kansas.’”
Moran said Abilene residents ought to aim to keep the community thriving long-term so their children and grandchildren have the opportunity to call Abilene “home.
“What I took to Washington, D.C., and what I continue to focus on is, ‘What do we do in Washington, D.C., that increases the chances that the communities in Dickinson County are here for quite a while longer?’” Moran said. “There’s lots of things we can work on, but the basic goal is to make sure that rural America is alive and well and the communities of Kansas are around for a lot longer.”
He said facilities like Abilene’s hospital help ensure not only the availability of healthcare for current residents but also for new young families considering moving to Abilene. Additionally, he said facilities like the new hospital allow senior citizens to remain in the communities where they have built their lives.
Moran closed his address with a note to all involved in the new hospital: the board, the city council and the citizens of Abilene.
“I honor you and congratulate you on that success, for your leadership and your desire to see that good things happen in your community,” Moran said. “God bless those that provide healthcare in the community that they live and work in.”