In a joint luncheon meeting of the Hettinger Ministerial Association and West River Health Services (WRHS) Administration, members of the area clergy named February 11, 2007 as Hospital and Clinic Appreciation Sunday.
By establishing a Sunday to recognize the hospital and clinics, WRHS intends to honor area pastors and church members for their support of patients, family members and staff, as well having pastors raise the awareness in their congregations of the significance of health care to the quality of life in our region and the importance of pastoral care for patients and their families.
In observance of Hospital and Clinics Appreciation Sunday, the pastors plan to include a special insert in their Sunday church bulletins, say a special prayer for the hospital and clinic patients and their families, medical staff, employees and volunteers, and, if desired, special comments during their sermons. WRHS will host an open house from 1:00 PM to 3:00PM for the public. Refreshments and tours will be offered.
During the luncheon, WRHS presented plans and long-range goals for the hospital and clinic as well as provided the opportunity for area clergy to share ideas about programs and services they would like to see offered at WRHS. The pastors agreed to serve as co-chairs of the churches division for the “Investing in Tomorrow, Capital Campaign committee. Their reasons for their support varied.
Reverend Judy Banwart, pastor of United Methodist Church and President of West River Ministerial Association said, “When I moved to Hettinger, I was amazed to find the high quality of medical care available right here in this community. It is important for a community to be able to provide care for the sick and injured. We are privileged to have such a full spectrum of medical services in our hospital and in the satellite clinics. We have available to us care that takes us from birth to our senior years.”
Rev. Tom Caldwell, pastor of Hettinger Baptist, is a former Infantry officer and now in the ND National Guard, was deployed for a year Iraq added, “health care in this area is the best I have seen in rural ND. Community support for this project is vital in maintaining that superb care.”
Rev. Kathleen Dettmann, pastor of Hettinger, Duck Creek and Lodgepole Lutheran Churches, stated, “I appreciate the routine medical services I have used and I find it reassuring to know that good emergency care is available if I ever need it. The ongoing improvement and expansion of buildings and services shows a long term commitment to keeping our communities strong.”
Rev Marc Eidahl, pastor of Hettinger Assembly of God, continued, ”I am extremely impressed with WRHS commitment to the welfare of the region. The hospital and clinics are especially important to an increasingly elderly population.”
Father Chad Gion serves on the WRHS Bio-ethics Committee and is pastor of Holy Trinity in Hettinger and Sacred Heart parishes in Scranton and Reeder expressed that WRHS is important to him for the people it has drawn to the community. “I have found many of those who moved to the area because of their work at the hospital and/or clinics to be truly blessings to me, to our community and to the region. I feel a great deal of gratitude for their presence here.”
Also attending the meeting was Rev. Ilo Madden, pastor at Reeder and Hettinger Congregational Churches and Pastor Gary Weems with Grace Evangelical Free Church. Other members are Rev. Ron Nelson, pastor of Reeder, Ralph and Bucyrus Lutheran Churches, Rev. Robert L. Boxrud, retired pastor and Rev. Bernard Dykstra, pastor at Christian Reformed Lodgepole Community Church.