RAEFORD – The FirstHealth of the Carolinas family joined the Hoke County community Sun., Sept. 22, for an afternoon of activities celebrating the grand opening of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus, the first-ever hospital in Hoke County.
The event began with a free-fall jump by four members of the All Veteran Parachute Team. One of the team’s members carried an American flag, which was then be raised by a color guard from the Hoke County Sheriff’s Department to fly over the hospital campus at 6408 Fayetteville Road (N.C. Highway 401), Raeford.
The eight-bed hospital and 24/7 emergency department will open to patients on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Participants in the grand opening included FirstHealth CEO David J. Kilarski, who led a contingent of FirstHealth administrators and staff in recognizing the hospital’s opening.
“FirstHealth made a commitment to serve Hoke County more than a decade ago, and we look forward to opening the doors of the community’s first hospital,” he said.
Also participating was Raeford resident Julian W. King who has served as chair of the FirstHealth of the Carolinas Board of Directors during much of the planning and construction process for the hospital.
“This achievement is nothing less than a dream come true for all of us,” King said. “Hoke County residents have depended on outside-the-county hospital care for too long. Now we are assured of the same splendid care we received in Pinehurst but here at home.”
The raising of the flag at the grand opening coincided with the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, led by Dr. Tony Santangelo, a local chiropractor and a member of FirstHealth’s Hoke County Advisory Board. In addition to Kilarski, King and Dr. Santangelo, participants in the ribbon-cutting that followed included Susan Beaty, R.N., the recently named administrator of Moore Regional-Hoke Campus; state and local elected officials; other members of the Hoke County Advisory Board and other dignitaries; and the FirstHealth administration and hospital staff.
A variety of activities, including hospital tours, entertainment, door prizes and refreshments, followed the ribbon cutting. Entertainment featured the North Carolina Turkey Festival Choir and local school groups. Guided hospital tours were also offered.
In addition, event participants were invited to visit one of three “Thumbprint Tree” stations, where they left thumbprint impressions on canvases that will be framed for display in the new hospital.
Since the hospital opening was the culminating event of the 2013 N.C. Turkey Festival, displays included the first-place winners of various Turkey Festival contests. FirstHealth of the Carolinas is a Gold Sponsor of the annual Turkey Festival.
“The Festival is honored and pleased to be a part of the opening of Hoke County’s first hospital, something that will be such a benefit for our community,” said Turkey Festival director Melissa Pittman. “We are also very excited that our first-place winners (were) on display during the opening. FirstHealth does so much to support the Festival for the citizens of Hoke County and the state, and we are thrilled to be partnered with them in this important occasion.”
For more information on FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus, visit http://www.firsthealth.org/hoke.