Stephens County Hospital has come a long way since its doors opened on Boulevard Street in 1937 and still has a viable future in the healthcare needs of Toccoa-Stephens County. That was the assessment of speakers during an 80th Anniversary celebration for the hospital held Sunday, July 30th

A crowd estimated at 150 people attended the ceremony which included remembrances, a challenge to meet the changing healthcare needs in the community and recognition of former and present hospital employees, Administrators and Hospital Authority members.

The most poignant moment came when former Hospital Authority Chairman, Ferman Gregory, asked for a show of hands of those in attendance who had been born either in the hospital facility on Boulevard Street or the present day hospital constructed and opened in 1967. More than half of those in attendance raised their hand.

Toccoa Falls College Provost, Brian Shelton, marveled at the anniversary. “Eight decades of operation – 50 years in this facility. That’s a tremendous thing,” Shelton said. He noted that in 1964, the college had agreed to give the county 28 acres of land upon which the present hospital would be constructed.

Hospital Authority Chairman, Mark Wilkinson, praised hospital employees calling them its “greatest asset” and thanked the Hospital Auxiliary for its “hundreds of thousands of hours” of volunteer time.

Gregory, who served 29 years on the hospital authority, recalled the advances in healthcare because of the hospital. He recognized employees, physicians, Administrators, Hospital Authority members, Chaplains and Auxiliary members – including Peggy Struble and Joann Burns who were instrumental in starting the Auxiliary in 1962.

State Representative, Dan Gasaway, was the Keynote speaker. Chief Executive Officer of Stephens County Hospital, Lynne Anderson recognized the Anniversary Committee. They included Dr. Jim Wade, Diane Hardeman, Pamela Jones, Joyce Gregory, Tina Knight, Judy Hunter, Paula Dickerson and Anderson.

After the brief program outside the hospital, attendees flooded the hospital lobby to soak in hundreds of items of memorabilia over the 80 year life of the hospital. A reception in the Hospital Cafeteria followed with musical entertainment provided by Mr. David Fry.