December 14, 2017
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Cary Medical Center Celebrates 90th Anniversary

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Cary Medical Center formally celebrated its 90th Anniversary on Wednesday, September 24th at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center. Some 150 people attended the event including hospital staff, board members, community members, physicians, volunteers and auxiliary members. The event was highlighted by a special video message from United States Senator, Susan Collins. All three Congressional Offices were represented at the event and in addition to the Collins Video, letters of congratulations were read from United States Senator, Angus King, United States Congressman Michael Michaud and Maine Governor Paul LePage. Kris Doody, RN, CEO at Cary said that the evening was truly unforgettable.
“This was a very special evening”, said Doody, who has led the Caribou hospital for 15 years and has worked at the hospital for more than 30. “We were very pleased to see a number of our medical staff, former board members and friends of the hospital. Our guests and speakers had such kind words to say about the hospital and just about everyone had a story about an experience at Cary that made it even more special. It was a night that we won’t forget. The video message from our own United States Senator Susan Collins was truly a highlight of the evening.”
Cary Medical Center board chairman, Gregg Collins was the MC for the event. Collins had brief remarks about the success of the hospital over the years, pointing out that Cary has some of the highest patient satisfaction scores in the nation and has won multiple awards for clinical quality and patient safety.
“We are very proud of our hospital”, said Collins. “We know it is the people who work here, the 500 plus employees, including our medical staff our nursing and other professional staff, our support services, volunteers and auxiliary that really make the difference. Today Cary Medical Center is on the move with our new Women’s Imaging Center, (named one of the best in the nation), and the Pines Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine added to the Cary campus. We are well positioned for the future. Our new Rural Oncology Center building upon the excellent work done by Dr. Ronald Rohe, now features two full time Oncologists/Hematologists, Dr. Allan Espinosa and Dr. Nadia Rajack along with a comprehensive Oncology team. We are expanding services for Veterans and working hard to meet the needs of the communities we serve.”
Kelley Kash, Executive Director of the Maine Veterans Homes, traveled from his main office in Augusta to attend the program. He acknowledged the partnership that has developed between Cary Medical Center and his organization to benefit Veterans. Gary Michaud, Clinic Nurse Manager at the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic on the Cary campus spoke about the benefits of the VA’s long relationship with the hospital.
“Our Veterans tell us every day how much they appreciate the support and care that is provided by the hospital”, said Michaud. “They really feel the respect from the hospital staff and they are so glad that they can receive more care close to home thanks to Project ARCH.” (Access Received Closer to Home)
Michael Halstead, Vice President, Eastern Operations for Quorum Health Resources, based in Nashville, also attended the program and spoke of the great success of the hospital and its ‘award winning’ performance.
“We have been very pleased with the opportunity to work with Cary Medical Center over more than 30 years”, said Halstead. “We know the kind of quality that the hospital provides and it has been our pleasure to present our national quality award to Cary for the past two years in a row. This is an organization of which your community can be very proud.”
Jim Davis, CEO of Pines Health Services also praised Cary for its focus on excellence and the unique relationship that has developed between Pines and Cary.
“Cary Medical Center has always had one thing in mind throughout its history; and that is, what is the best thing for patients and their families”, said Davis who described the relationship to be one of collaboration and cooperation. “The leadership had a vision some 30 years ago when Pines sought to be designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center. Today the Pines and Cary relationship is a model for the nation and both Kris Doody and I have spoken at national conferences on the value of collaboration. We look forward to many more years of successful partnership.”
State representatives Carol McElwee and Bernard Ayotte presented a special Legislative Sentiment to Cary Board Chair Collins. The sentiment spoke of the history of the hospital and the great support of the community.
Concluding the evening, Kris Doody, made special presentations to Norm and Barb Collins and to the family of Don and Pat Collins.
Norm and Barb Collins have been involved with the Cary hospital for more than 25 years. Norm as a member of the Cary Board of Directors, and as former Board Chairman. He currently serves on the Jefferson Cary Foundation Board of Directors and the Caribou Hospital District and he is the current Chairman of the Pines Health Services Board of Directors. His wife Barb, has volunteered with the Cary Auxiliary for more than 25 years, many years as Hospital Gift Shop Treasurer and now serving as Vice President of the organization. She has worked multiple projects from bake sales to the Annual Breast Cancer Awareness ‘Walk for Care’, from decorating the hospital over the holidays to decorating for the 90th Anniversary event.
In making the presentation to the family of Don and Pat Collins Doody reviewed the history of the family’s relationship with the hospital dating back to 1916 when H. D. Collins, served on the first hospital board of directors before Cary Memorial Hospital was built. Later, his grandson, Don Collins served on the Cary Memorial Hospital Board, on the hospital’s building committee, the investment committee, the Caribou Hospital District and the Cary Medical Center Board of Directors. Don Collins also served in the State Senate where he was an advocate for rural health care. His brother, the late H. Douglas Collins, M.D., a Harvard trained Internist practiced many years at Cary and is considered one of the finest doctors to serve the hospital in its 90 year history. Don and Pat’s daughter United States Senator Susan Collins has long been an advocate for rural health care and most recently played a critical role in the extension of Project ARCH. The family tradition lives on, as Today, 98 years after his great grandfather, H.D. Collins served on the first hospital board, Gregg Collins is the Chairman of the Cary Medical Center Board of Directors.
Both families were presented with framed prints of Cary Medical Center.
Following the presentations, Kris Doody had brief remarks. She commented about the historical power point presentation that was shown during the social hour prior to the formal ceremony.
“It was so nice to see pictures of our medical staff, past and present, who have made such a contribution to the growth and success of Cary Medical Center”, said Doody. “So many people have been a part of our history and each one of them has left their mark on the hospital. Today, together with Pines Health Services we have the largest medical staff in our history.”
Doody also acknowledged the attendance of several Veterans who were in the audience and thanked them for their service, which drew applause from the entire audience.
“Our relationship with Veterans in Northern Maine has been such a great part of our history”, said Doody. “We are privileged to be engaged in serving the health care needs of Veterans in Aroostook County.”
Following her remarks the hospital CEO introduced some archival video clips and a video of the band Schooner Fare performing the ‘County Song’.
Pastor Tom Bentum of the Gray Memorial United Methodist Church in Caribou provided the opening and closing prayers for the ceremony. The Loring Job Corps Color Guard presented and retired colors adding a special touch to the gathering.
Concluding the event, Kris Doody thanked all of the speakers, and all those attending the ceremony. She acknowledged the work of the Cary Auxiliary in decorating the banquet facility. She also thanked the Caribou Historical Society for allowing the hospital to display some medical artifacts from their museum and expressed her appreciation to the Loring Job Corps Color Guard. The hospital CEO said that she will be looking forward to another special gathering in 2024 when the hospital will celebrate its 100th Anniversary.