Seton Medical Center opens with 3-day celebration
Saturday, 23 June 2012 by Melany Cox
Friends, family, staff and diplomats celebrated together this weekend as Seton Medical Center in Harker Heights prepared to open its doors to the public. Seton is the first hospital to open in Bell County in 34 years.
The celebrations began with the blessing and reveal of the hospital, which took place last Thursday evening. Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Diocese of Austin conducted the blessing. The bishop held a private mass in the hospitals chapel before entering the lobby and blessing the doors at the main entrance to the hospital.
After the bishop blessed the main doors, he proceeded to walk throughout the hallways of the hospital blessing each doorway.
As the evening progressed, visitors were allowed to explore the hospital. Food and drink were provided as well. Along with the hospital staff, attendees of the blessing and reveal included families, city council members and the Knights of Columbus.
Associate Night, which took place Friday evening, provided hospital workers the opportunity to show their families where they would be spending their working hours. Staff and their families were able to indulge in a barbeque dinner outside on the lawn before touring the hospital.
Melissa Purl, Director of Marketing for Seton Medical Center, said she was excited that children of all ages would be able to see where their parents would be working. She also said the city of Harker Heights was "amazing" for providing traffic control and the tents set up on the hospital lawn.
Jamell Thomas, Data Abstracter, said she believed it was important for her children to be able to see where she would be working.
"It's very important because it helps build a strong work ethic at an early age," Thomas said. "It's not only a bonding experience, but it's long lasting."
During the meal, Matt Maxfield, Chief Executive Officer of Seton Medical Center, addressed the attendees. He issued thanks to the many people, groups, and organizations that helped with the hospital. He gave a special message the hospital staff, welcoming them to the "Seton family."
"It's really now up to us to deliver what this community has expected and what they've wanted in a new hospital and a new healthcare system," Maxfield said. "It's all of us working together, understanding what our patients needs are everyday, understanding how we can best work together as team members to coordinate that care, and to deliver it with compassion and excellence in everything we do."
Maxfield also thanked the family members of the hospital staff for "sharing their loved ones."
Maxfield concluded his address by introducing Paul Kappelman, Division President for LHP Hospital Group, Inc. Kappelman also thanked everyone involved with the hospital and encouraged them to think everyday about "why we're here."
Mark Hazelwood, President and CEO of Seton Clinical Enterprise, concluded the address.
"I would encourage all of us to live in the moment, and to pause, and to reflect on so many good things that have happened and are going to happen in the future," Hazelwood said.
After the speeches concluded, cake was served and families were released to tour the hospital. Each individual was provided with a pair of booties to wear over their shoes before entering the hospital, in order to keep the floors free of mud and dirt. Families lined up and were able to enter the hospital and tour it at their own pace.
Community Day took place Saturday afternoon in the hospital parking lot and on the lawn. Several inflatables were set up along with a zip line, and booths providing free snacks and drinks. Entertainment was provided by the Shoemaker High School Cheerleaders and Drum Band, the Greater Peace Missionary Baptist Church Choir, the First United Methodist Church Choir and the Harker Heights High School Color Guard, Orchestra and Cheerleaders.
Members of the Harker Heights Fire Department brought one of their fire engines to Community Day.
"We're just talking to people, promoting the Fire Department and letting the kids see the fire engine," said one fireman.
Seton Medical Center will open to the public on June 18.