Today, is the last day that Kim Leonard and Kathy Burkey are board members of the Western Maryland Health System.
Kim has been a board member since the creation of the Western Maryland Health System in 1996. In fact, Kim served as the organization's first board chair and was able to maneuver the System through an extremely tumultuous few years. With both personal and professional threats and losses, Kim's leadership through this nightmarish period was focused and inclusive. He put himself out there and confronted challenge after challenge. He was a rock and I will be forever grateful that he saw us through what was certainly the right thing to do and allowed WMHS to both flourish and prosper to the great benefit of our community.
Kathy Burkey joined the board shortly after the System was created and served as our second board chair for over 10 years. Kathy and I worked together throughout that period and we both lived to tell about it. There certainly were challenges that Kathy faced and met head on and, in many cases, to her personal and professional peril. Kathy lost many clients based on decisions that people didn't understand at the time. She lost many physician clients for clearly doing the right thing. She led us through the separation from Ascension Health--certainly not an easy task (and the reason why both Kathy and Kim's board terms were extended due to the loss of almost half of our board) as well as the building of the new hospital. She challenged us every step of the way and, as a result, the hospital was delivered on time and under budget; unheard of today as well as five years ago when it was completed.
Today, I am a much better person and leader to have served both these individuals. Both will be missed for their inclusiveness, their honesty, their tenacity, their intellect, their knowledge, their wealth of experience and most importantly, their wonderful senses of humor.
God speed, Kathy and Kim, from a most grateful health system and community.