By Casey Peacock: PNT staff writer
Roosevelt General Hospital buzzed with activity Friday as it celebrated its fifth anniversary.
Hospital staff and community members were out in full force to mark the occasion. With a festive feel in the air, people lined up to dine on grilled hamburgers and fresh roasted green chili.
Hospital staff worked the grill and helped with the game booths while another staff member passed out leis to everyone.
“It’s great,” Portales resident Jack Greathouse said. “You need to be outspoken about your victories.”
Vendor booths set up inside staffed by community members afforded visitors the opportunity to purchase everything from cookware, jewelry and beauty products to printing.
Friday’s celebration started out with James D’Agostino, hospital administrator, riding through the hospital on a scooter to commemorate his scooter ride on the hospital’s opening day five years ago.
Throughout the week, themed days included a cow chip contest for Western Day and a Mexican hat dance for Fiesta Day. On Casino Day, the staff played casino games. Thursday’s ’50s theme day was complete with bubble gum, jitterbug and hula hoop contests.
“We’re extremely proud we are here. We want the community to know how much we appreciate them,” Tammy Phillips of the hospital’s risk management department said.
Approximately 400 people attended Friday’s public celebration, according to hospital staff.
“It was a huge success. We appreciate the community support. All week has been a blast,” said the hospital’s public relations director, Kenda Dickenson.
Roosevelt County was without a hospital for 36 months after the old hospital closed in October 1998. A hospital board was formed the following year, comprised of community members.
RGH board member Boyd Evans described it as “a community effort from the word go.”
The community has stepped forward and helped to get the hospital up and running, Evans said. He noted that community members have donated the land where the hospital sits and dirt for the backfill. The community has also raised more than $800,000 in donations for the hospital.
Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative and Roosevelt County Rural Telephone Cooperative have also been instrumental in the hospital’s growth. They have helped the hospital obtain $3.5 million in low-interest loans and grants for equipment, said Evans.
“I think it is a good morale booster and I think it’s appropriate for the hospital to show their appreciation to the community for their support of RGH,” said Fred Anthony, hospital board member.
In a separate presentation, five-year pins were presented to 39 employees who have been with the hospital since day one.