Tears came to the eyes of many as Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation Executive
Director Barney Larry told how Jerry and Sue Verzal came to provide a
$250,000 gift for the renovated lobby of Baxter Regional Medical Center's
2 West floor. It was a story of Jerry's love for Sue and their appreciation
for what BRMC has done for them.
Larry shared the story at a celebration Thursday evening for the completion
of the 2 West upgrade and its reopening, the results of the hospital foundation's
second capital campaign which raised $750,000 for the project. Donors,
BRMC supporters, staff members and others turned out for the event and
to see the refurbished hospital rooms.
Donors "adopted" the rooms by contributing $10,000 for the project.
They are recognized with a plaque outside the rooms they adopted.
Each room in the wing has been upgraded with state-of-the-art technology
for improved patient care. New beds not only appear more comfortable,
but they work electronically with various parts of a patient's care,
such as weight measurement. Lighting is improved and brighter for both
the patient's use and to help doctors and nurses better administer
care. Infection prevention flooring and seamless sinks allow for faster,
safer and less intrusive cleanup.
Yet it was Larry's story about the Verzals that struck a chord with
those in attendance. They had lived in California, where Jerry worked
in insurance, and he also bought real estate in Nebraska, California and
Washington, said Larry. When he retired in 1993, the couple sold their
California home and bought an RV to travel through America. They also
had vacation homes in Washington and Costa Rica.
Their travels brought them to the Twin Lakes Area and the White River,
and Larry said when the Verzals decided to buy a more permanent home,
their choices were Costa Rica -- or Mountain Home. They chose Mountain Home.
Jerry had surgery at BRMC in 2005, one of three surgeries he had there.
Yet it was a morning in July 2008 that changed their lives, according
to Larry. Their plans to go out for coffee and to shop ended when Sue
began having trouble getting dressed, Realizing something was wrong, Jerry
helped her finish getting ready then walked her to the car for a trip
to the BRMC emergency room.
"She walked to the car, and that was the last time she walked,"
Sue had suffered a stroke. She was initially treated at BRMC, then transferred
to a Springfield, Mo., facility, but came back to BRMC for rehabilitation.
She was able to return home, but another stroke in October 2009 resulted
in Sue going to a long-term care facility.
Larry said she became sort of a roommate with his own mother, and he sees
Jerry regularly. He said Jerry is there with Sue every morning, and their
travels now are weekly trips to a restaurant. For the care they received
at BRMC, the care and consideration given by those who work there, the
Verzals decided to give back and donated $250,000 for the 2 West lobby.
Both were present for not only the wing's reopening, but the unveiling
of a plaque and portrait in honor of Sue.
Planned Giving Officer Estella Tullgren said this year's capital campaign
had a new element a $20,000 charitable give annuity. The gift annuity
creates an income stream "and great tax benefit," according
BRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ron Peterson told the audience
that while health care faces uncertain times, he can look around at the
hospital and "I realize how we're defying the odds." He
said BRMC has a strong foundation with a dedicated and strong medical
and nursing staff, but most importantly "we have the support of the
A list of donors
Donors to the Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation's 2011 Adopt-a-Room
Capital Campaign included:
Jerry and Sue Verzal
Dr. Bob and Ellen Ahrens
Dr. John Ahrens
Bonni C. Ashley
John and Mary Jo Belinski
Brooks-Jeffrey Marketing and Computer Store
Darren and Donna Calhoun
Bill and Pat Dondanville
John and Ann Dyess
Dr. William and Elka King
Judy R. Loving
Dr. Paul and Dody Neis
Dr. Tim and Connie Paden
Ann Jo Price
Professional Credit Management Inc.
Rick and John Schmeski
Dr. Fred and Norma Taylor
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