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Michele Schoonover sits at her desk holding letter and check received by the hospital's foundation organization.

Michele Schoonover, Virginia Gay Hospital CEO, holds the check and notification letter received by Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation from the Louise Gilchrist Charitable Trust.

Definition of Grateful: “warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received.” Virginia Gay Hospital, Clinics, Home Health, Nursing and Rehab has tremendous reasons to be “Grateful.” We are grateful for our community and the outpouring of support in PPE, construction of masks, donated materials and the care and concern for each other.

Recently, Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation received a gift of $50,000 from the Louise Gilchrist Charitable Trust. Over the years we have received numerous gifts from Louise’s Trust; VGH would like to share a little of her story. Louise Gilchrist was born in Traer, Iowa in 1877 the daughter of William Amery and Louise Rose Tilson.  She married W.E. Gilchrist in 1911. She worked as a telephone operator in Vinton and W.E. Gilchrist was the City Clerk for the City of Vinton. They did not have any children. Louise Gilchrist passed away at the age of 91 in 1969, a resident of the Annex (Virginia Gay Nursing & Rehab). Deb Kacena with Mossman Law Firm stated “I remember Keith Mossman literally handing me the Louise Gilchrist Charitable Trust file and told me it was the oldest “active” file in the office.” Keith Mossman stated to Deb “…Louise and Bill (Louise’s husband) worked hard to save their money and invested it wisely over the years… they knew they could trust Keith as the Trustee.”  Keith shared with Deb that she would be working on it long after Keith was gone because it still had 30 years or so to go until the Trust would close. As predicted thirty years later, Louise Gilchrist Charitable Trust was closed and her generosity benefited the community of Vinton in exceptional ways. At VGH her Trust has supported years of Tree of Lights campaigns, and construction of 3 different construction projects, all that have helped VGH to evolve and increase the availability of quality and accessible rural healthcare. The Louise Gilchrist Charitable Trust is now supporting VGH in unprecedented times, some of the funds support the cost of purchasing secure door system, vital sign software and communication equipment strengthening the availability of quality and safe care to the citizens of Vinton and surrounding areas. We are exceedingly thankful for Louise’s gift and all of the community coming together during this crisis. We will make it through.

Virginia Gay Hospital, Clinics, Home Health, Nursing & Rehab has your safety and care in mind always. The clinics have policies in place supporting normal office appointments. For patient and staff safety masks are required when entering the facility. Telehealth is available. Tammy Hicok, Director of Clinics stated, “All the masks, gowns, food and more have been a positive light during the crazy days of COVID.”

Tina Eden, Director of Nursing stated, “The hospital worked through CDC and IDPH recommendation to institute temporary best practices to protect our patients, residents and staff.  VGH did have a pandemic plan in place so our response was very coordinated from the beginning with early discussion on February 19th in our quarterly quality meetings and then set up an incident command group March 2.  Daily challenges were mitigated and we quickly learned that pandemic response is really a fluid process to keep up with changing proclamations and learning to conserve supplies and personal protective equipment.  We are very grateful for staff ability to navigate obstacles to provide quality care in a rapidly changing public health emergency and their dedication and determination. The staff has really stepped up and provided amazing, compassionate bedside care.”

Jess Henkle, Nursing & Rehab Administrator, has been keeping the resident’s families consistently updated with progress reports through Facebook, Facetime, Skype, letters, window visits, emails to families, and telephone calls. Activities staff provide special treats, crafts and are able to laugh often, keeping everyone busy. Our staff is diligent and compassionate in care. Jess stated, “There are significant challenges to putting together a reopening plan, staff will continue to work with local and state public health officials on the health and safety of the residents through this process.” Safety and care of Nursing & Rehab of residents is top of the list. Congratulations to Nursing & Rehab staff successfully passing an on-site infection control inspection.

Michele Schoonover connects with staff weekly in “A Moment with Michele,” providing guidance, encouragement, updates from CDC and Public Health and appreciation of their diligence and dedication. Always ending with “We are VGH Strong.”

To keep updated with events and current information, visit VGH’s website: www.myvgh.org or follow us on Facebook @VirginiaGayHospital.