|The aforementioned generous acts were made possible by direct wiring of funds, without face-to-face contact with Foundation officials after their September trip.|
In February the donors visited the hospital, noting progress made from early September when the facility was completely closed by Katrina’s floodwaters. They also couldn’t help but notice the work remaining to be done.
Meeting again with HMC’s Facilities Services Director Hank Wheeler and Leftwich, Smead and his assistant, Maria Adamo, viewed damages and saw opportunities…and planned a trip back to Bay St. Louis in early April to help.
With others from Connecticut, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and California, the group traded their daytime professions for sheetrock dust, electric screwdrivers, razor knives and sheetrock mud. They spent a week as HMC’s guests in recently restored patient rooms, working 10-hour days and meeting a goal of refurbishing the hospital’s post-partum unit.
The 10-bed unit, surrounding nurse’s station and hallways now have walls, thanks to the six volunteers, said Wheeler, whose own maintenance crews are busy restoring the hospital’s Imaging Department and Intensive Care Unit.
“Without this volunteer help, we would be weeks behind in our progress,” said Wheeler. “We are indebted to them for their commitment to rebuilding our hospital and community.”
The Hartwell Foundation also provided HMC with a teleconferencing system, which was used for critical meetings during the week. The equipment allows a split-screen videoconference between four parties in various locations.