Celebrating St. Joseph's Hospital's 100th anniversary at the proclamation signing are, from left, Lisa Wharton, Vice President of Marketing, Public Relations & Foundation; Paula Cutright, Executive Assistant; Ann Chidester, Vice President of Patient Care Services; Mayor Robbie Skinner; Skip Gjolberg, President; Sister Francesca Lowis, Vice President of Mission Integration; and Dr. Joseph Reed.

St. Joseph’s Hospital kicks off 100th anniversary week

BUCKHANNNON – Ahead of its centennial anniversary this coming Sunday, the City of Buckhannon on Monday honored St. Joseph’s Hospital for its 100th-year milestone, and one of its longtime physicians, Dr. Joseph Reed, for his years of service.

Buckhannon mayor Robbie Skinner thanked the hospital for serving the community for a century and being one of the biggest employers in the county.

“I think we all know that St. Joseph’s Hospital is the largest employer in Upshur County,” Skinner said. “There’s things that Buckhannon could possibly do without – of course, we don’t want to do without any of them — but we cannot do anything without our hospital.”

The mayor recalled St. Joseph’s Hospital President and CEO Skip Gjolberg outlining at a Chamber of Commerce meeting how losing a rural hospital could destroy a community.

“Skip reported back at the Chamber of Commerce meeting that losing a hospital decimates the community, so we are eternally grateful to St. Joe’s for its steadfast growth here in Buckhannon, and we hope it continues,” Skinner said.

Gjolberg, hospital president, said the hospital hopes to continue expanding its services.

“It’s been a pleasure to continue to run St. Joe’s for these five years, and it’s doing really well; we’re happy with the growth and services,” Gjolberg said. “We’re going to continue to add things, and we’re going down to pitch our renovation expansion plans next Monday, a week from today, to see if we can get the system that allows us more money to give it a big facelift up there, but we’ll see. There’s a lot of competing hospital priorities within the system for capital, but we’re working on that.”

The hospital proclamation delineated St. Joseph’s Hospital’s rich history, noting that it was founded by the Pallottine Missionary Sisters who came into being in 838 to assist the Roman Catholic priest, Vincent Pilati, with his life’s mission to “revive, strengthen and spread faith and enkindle charity throughout the world.” According to the proclamation, the Pallottine Missionary Sisters made their way to the U.S. in 1912 and in 1920, were invited to open a hospital in Buckhannon, West Virginia.

They did so by purchasing the Barlow estate in Buckhannon and opening St. Joseph’s Hospital on March 28, 1921. Over the years, St. Joseph’s Hospital “has grown from an eight-bed hospital to a medical community dedicated to serving the needs of the residents of Central West Virginia … and St. Joseph’s Hospital has provided our community with quality health care, and the ways in which respect is given to God, and dignity of each person for the sacredness of human life for 100 years.”

The proclamation commends the hospital and its staff for “their compassion and commitment to the caring of our community” and encourages the residents to express their appreciation for St. Joseph’s Hospital and its essential role in Buckhannon.

The mayor also declared Friday, March 26 Dr. Joseph Reed Day.

“On a slightly personal note for me, Dr. Reed delivered me at St. Joseph’s Hospital, on June 16, 1989,” Skinner said. “I was actually due on May 23, and Dr. Reed showed up in his red shoes, and that’s when Mom knew that was going to be the day that I came into the world. Either that or she was going to take his red shoes off and beat him with them for letting me go any further than where I already was.”

Celebrating Dr. Reed’s recognition pictured from left are Sue McKisic, Upshur Buckhannon Health Department; Paula Cutright, Executive Assistant; Ann Chidester, Vice President of Patient Care Services; Mayor Robbie Skinner; Dr. Joseph Reed; Sister Francesca Lowis, Vice President of Mission Integration; Skip Gjolberg, President; and Lisa Wharton, Vice President of Marketing, Public Relations & Foundation.

The proclamation said that Reed has served the patients of Buckhannon and Upshur County for nearly 55 years, delivering 2,762 babies and continuing, even today, to provide nursery care for St. Joseph’s Hospital. Reed also served as president of the medical staff of St. Joseph’s Hospital and with the West Virginia chapter of American Academy of Family Medicine and the West Virginia State Medical Association.

Dubbing Reed an active community member, the proclamation took note of his position as the medical director of the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department and membership in the following organizations: the Buckhannon Presbyterian Church, the Upshur County Family Resource Network, the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce, Create Buckhannon, the Parish House Council and St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.

Skinner then declared Friday, March 26 as Dr. Joseph Reed Day throughout Buckhannon, W.Va., and said he would “urge all of our residents to express their appreciation for Dr. Joseph Reed’s long years of service and commitment to this community.”

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