Before leaving St. Luke Hospital at the end of work each day, CEO Jeremy Ensey strolls down the hall to the Living Center to visit his grandma.
Former physician T.C. Ensey and his wife, Lila, are residents at Marion Assisted Living, but when Lila recently needed a higher level of care, she transferred to the Living Center.
“I can bring my kids up to see her,” Ensey said. “If she had to go 30 or miles away, it’s a big deal to get your three kids and family and drive an hour round trip. Here we can drop in whenever.”
Ensey said his experience provided personal insight into an aspect of St. Luke’s capital campaign aimed at modernizing the Living Center.
That campaign is drawing support from Marion’s banks, whose leaders agree that investing in upgrades to the Living Center and physician’s clinic will provide benefits beyond the services they provide.
Central National Bank donated $45,000 Friday, and Marion branch president Todd Heitschmidt said planned improvements were important to the future of the community.
“To look at our long term goals, it’s fundamental to have this, not just the hospital but the Living Center,” he said. “This allows residents who maybe grew up in Marion, lived a long time in Marion or the area, to stay in the community and be close to family, church friends, card club friends, whatever that is.”
Heitschmidt said that as the city’s only nursing home, the Living Center fills an important niche in creating a “continuum of care” for older adults.
“We think it’s important to have this as a good quality choice for health care, maybe end-of-life issues, and that their families can be comforted in the top quality care they can receive here,” he said.
Tampa State Bank kicked in $30,000 to the campaign Monday, and president Chris Costello said the project would help to maintain St. Luke’s position as a key contributor to the community’s economic well-being.
“We’ve always been big supporters because we know and understand what a big role the hospital does play,” Costello said. They’re a big employer, and the service they provide is unparalled by other communities of our size. We’d be driving 30 miles if we didn’t have this place, and that could be life and death. It’s a huge draw for new businesses looking for a place live.”
Marion National Bank president Don Noller said a quality hospital attracts families and older adults to the community.
“Schools and hospitals are probably the first two questions people have when looking for a town to move to,” he said. “If you didn’t have the hospital, how many of these Wichita people would move to the lake? I’ve got to believe that’s a factor when they choose to retire.”
Noller said knowing quality nursing care is available here for their parents gives kids who live elsewhere peace of mind.
Marion National is exploring options on how to best support the capital campaign, Noller said, while noting that employee Brenda Maddox has been a member and treasurer of the St. Luke Hospital Foundation Board for many years.
Costello said he hoped his donation would encourage others to give as the hospital foundation rolls out the next phase of the fundraising campaign.
“We’re glad to do our part, and if it makes somebody get out of their chair and write a check, we’d sure love that,” he said.