Today, I celebrate my Silver Anniversary in Cumberland, first at Memorial Hospital and then, at the Western Maryland Health System. I never imagined twenty-five years ago that I would still be in Cumberland celebrating such a milestone.
When I first arrived in Cumberland, my plan was to get experience in the C Suite at a community hospital after spending almost fifteen years at two large urban teaching hospitals working at various levels in those organizations. Obviously, Cumberland was a wonderful professional opportunity at the time and it continues to be the case today.
A little known fact is that just prior to my Thursday interview at Memorial, Pamela and I loaded up the kids in the car and drove from Pittsburgh to Cumberland on the previous Saturday. Pamela was driving and we arrived in Cumberland through the Narrows on Mechanic Street. It wasn't the best first impression of the area. I said to Pamela, "Let's get out of here, I am canceling the interview." It was Pamela who said, "No, we need to drive around and see all of the area, not just one street." We then drove to Memorial and I walked around the hospital. I found the people to be the nicest that I had ever met and that continues today.
We certainly had a blip in our community love fest when we first brought the two hospitals together to form the System; that is when I was getting the "get out of town" messages. However, to have survived that tumultuous period was short of a miracle, but it happened and I am a better person because of it. Today, we have a beautiful new hospital delivering care in a very new and different way, well ahead of the rest of the country. All is good!