News from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation
Today, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, is a difficult day. I remember exactly where I was when the planes hit the buildings. I was sitting in my living room getting ready to leave for work. While the events of the day were horrific and changed the lives of so many, it also brought appreciation and greater understanding for the heroic efforts of those who put their lives on the line in the most unforeseeable circumstances.
It was around this time we were launching our hospital’s employee giving campaign. There was a tremendous desire to honor those who put their lives on the line on 9/11 — the firefighters, law enforcement, first responders, medical providers and citizens.
That was when the Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s (SNMH) ‘Share the Spirit’ employee committee was formed. Composed of individuals from various hospital departments, this committee was charged with encouraging employee giving to support unfunded needs to assist employees, patients, the hospital and community.
It was during the year following 9/11 that the Share the Spirit committee came up with the idea to purchase and raise a flagpole behind Building 3. Employee donations of nearly $21,000 were secured and on 9/11/2002, an emotional sunrise ceremony was held to honor, not only those who had given their lives the previous year, but our hometown heroes as well.
Over 300 employees, volunteers, board members, and community members were present for the moving ceremony. A color guard presented and raised the flag. Foothill Flowers generously donated carnations so that individuals could place a flower at the base of the flag in honor of those fallen and alive.
Since the flag was raised, the Share the Spirit committee has continued to thrive. Currently co-chaired by Linda Waring and Sandy Ludwig, this dynamic group of people called “Spirit Leaders” serve our hospital’s needs. Over the years, employee donations have funded many significant projects at the hospital including the chapel, a memorial and tribute garden, support for employees in crisis, break room renovations, small pieces of equipment, and more. Nearly every department has benefited throughout their 20-year history.
Twenty years later, the flag still waves above the hospital in honor of those who have taken care of our community all these years. It is especially meaningful right now as our country goes through one of its greatest challenges since 9/11.
Good people, vaccinated and unvaccinated, are struggling with personal beliefs regarding their health. It has changed the way people view not only COVID-19, but so many other life circumstances. It has divided families, broken friendships, created distrust and saddened so many.
It is time to heal. Our country has gone through strife many times in its history. Everyone is struggling right now. The hospital’s flag waves for our heroes, but it can also be a reminder to us that the greatest tribute we can give others is to be the reason that someone believes in the goodness of people.
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