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Tazewell Community Hospital celebrates 40 years of service

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Tazewell Community Hospital celebrates 40 years of service

Joe Farley addresses the audience with Kathren Dowdy looking on. Jim Talbert

Tazewell Community Hospital celebrated turning 40 Nov. 24 and the first baby born there came back for the party.

Marine Lt. Colonel Joseph, (Joe) Farley, who works at the Pentagon and lives in Spotsylvania County, was just two days shy of turning 40 when he spoke at TCH. The son of Ken and Terri Farley of Bluefield was born at TCH Nov. 26, 1973 just after five p.m.

A member of the committee that organized the party thought it would be a good idea and Farley was happy to return. “I usually come home this time of year and go hunting with dad so I was happy to do this,’ he said.

The 1992 Graham graduate knew several of the people who attended the gathering and pointed out the lady who signed his birth certificate. He also joked with Carilion CEO Nancy Agee, who made the trip from Bath County about who traveled the longest distance.

Farley said he was proud to be from southwest Va. and often reminds people there is a lot of Virginia beyond Roanoke. He credited growing up in Tazewell County with establishing his framework for success in the Marine Corp.

James Thompson, chairman of the board of TCH introduced the present board members and recognized the original board.  The hospital was built to replace Jeffersonville Hospital which was operated by Dr. Mary Elizabeth Johnston and Dr. Rufus Brittain.

The hospital was managed by Carilion for 27 years before it became part of the corporation in 2008. The company recently completed a $2 million renovation to the emergency department at TCH.

That renovation cost as much as the original hospital. When TCH was constructed in 1973, a 56 bed acute care facility cost $2 million. 

Kathren Dowdy, COO\CNO read the names of the original employees, some of whom attended the gathering. Jean Miller, Mary Jane Harris, Margaret Ann Harold, Ruth Mitchell,

Queenie Moore, Deloris Harris, Helen Hawks, Sharon Conn, Jo Ann Kinder, Steve McGraw, Shirley Mitchell, Nancy Nash, Mary Jane Wall, Gwen Viney, Rose Cruey and Linda Peery comprised the original staff.

Jones and Miller were part of the committee that planned the 40th anniversary celebration. The facility was more than five years in the making from the initial board meeting in March of 1968 to opening the doors in 1973.

Patients from Jeffersonville Hospital, which was in the center of town and had operated since 1946, were transferred to TCH for the Nov. 26 opening in 1973.  The hospital has operated on a continuous basis since then.

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