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Friday, August 03, 2012 - Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital Rededicated 60 Years Later

Paul Oliver Foundation Board Chair Honnie McClear gets some ice cream.

Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital Rededicated 60 Years Later
U.S. Coast Guard flyover, politicians, Paul Oliver’s great-grandchildren on hand

Distinctive chops from the blades of a MH-65C Dolphin helicopter whirred across the Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital grounds at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2, circling in salute to the hospital’s role in caring for the health of residents of the Benzie region for 60 years.

A hospital rededication ceremony followed the U.S. Coast Guard flyby and included descendants of surgeon Paul Oliver, the Frankfort High School band, local politicians, an official proclamation from the state of Michigan, and ice cream treats renamed to reflect the special milestone.

Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital CEO Jim Austin thanked the more than 100 people who attended the rededication, noting the event was designed to honor the original ceremony that included the high school band as well as a visit by then Michigan Gov. G. Mennen (Soapy) Williams.

“We appreciate all those in the past and the present that helped make Paul Oliver a meaningful health care center,” he said. “In 1952 the Patriot could not have said it better: ‘It has been one of the major projects of this county and its value to the whole area cannot be estimated.’”

Betsie Hosick, M.D., a retired anesthesiologist and granddaughter of Paul Oliver, reflected on the hospital’s original dedication ceremony where she helped raise the flag. She handed off those duties to a younger generation for the rededication. “I’m really happy that Paul Oliver’s great-grandchildren were able to be here from Boston to raise the flag today,” she said.

Great-grandchildren Bob and Jennifer Mills raised a flag presented by Jim Martin. His grandfather, Albert H. Martin presented the original dedication flag to Mrs. Paul Oliver. Hospital Board Chairman and retired Judge Paul Clulo played the “Call to Colors” on the trumpet as the flag was raised.

George Ryckman, D.O., spoke on behalf of the hospital’s medical staff and thanked the hospital staff, leadership, the auxiliary, donors, and the community for their continued support over the years.

“If you look at this beautiful facility you have to ask how this happened and how we can continue this,” he said. “This hospital has won four national awards in a row. As a physician, I consider it a privilege to practice in such a fine community.”

State Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama, read a proclamation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, State Sen. Darwin Booher, and himself, honoring the hospital’s 60 years of care for the community. “We commend everyone who has contributed to its success,” he said.

Munson Healthcare President and CEO Ed Ness also congratulated the hospital for its success, noting that it is a national model of how to continue providing high quality health care in a small community. The hospital was the first critical access hospital in the state – now there are 34 who have copied that model.

Frankfort’s Hill Top Soda Shoppe offered participants a special taste of summer that reflected the special day: “Betsie Bay Berry Blend Sorbet,” or “Paul Oliver Pecan Crunch.”

In addition to the ceremony, attendees were invited to view a 12-minute video of its history, and read other milestones from the past as reflected on poster-sized copies of past Record-Patriot stories.

Prior to the rededication ceremony, Dr. Hosick cut the ribbon to dedicate the new Elizabeth C. Hosick Dialysis Center. She donated $1 million for the six-bed dialysis area on the second floor of the hospital. The project also received a $75,000 grant from the Anchor and Heart Fund, and the Paul Oliver Auxiliary has pledged $60,000 for the project. Plans call for the center to move into a more permanent area, possibly as early as 2014.

The center is currently serving 16 patients from the area as well as occasional summer visitors.