BWWMH celebrates 60 years, auxiliary commemorates 40

Arthur Evans unveils the plaque honoring Mrs. Edith Whitfield's many years of service as a Charter Member of the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.  Mrs. Whitfeild was joined by several of her family members.

Arthur Evans unveils the plaque honoring Mrs. Edith Whitfield’s many years of service as a Charter Member of the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. Mrs. Whitfield was joined by several of her family members.

More than 100 people crowded into the lobby of Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital Thursday night for a dual celebration.

The hospital marked its 60th anniversary, and the BWWMH Auxiliary observed its 40th year of service to the hospital.

As part of the Auxiliary’s celebration the hospital unveiled a plaque in honor of Edith Whitfield, a charter member of the organization and, at the age of 97, still active.

Whitfield was surrounded by her family, including son Bobby who traveled from his home in Canada for the event. Her grandson, Kevin Horne, choked up as he told of the “kind, giving, loving person” who had such an influence in his life.

Kevin Horne speaks about his grandmother, Mrs. Edith Whitfield, during the Anniversary Celebration and Plaque Dedication marking Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital's 60 years of service and honoring Mrs. Whitfield's many years of service to the hospital.

Kevin Horne speaks about his grandmother, Mrs. Edith Whitfield, during the Anniversary Celebration and Plaque Dedication marking Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s 60 years of service and honoring Mrs. Whitfield’s many years of service to the hospital.

“I would not be who I am today if not for the example she set,” he told the audience.

Turning to his grandmother, he said, “You will never know how many lives you’ve touched over the years.”

He said before the Auxiliary was formed the hospital had a volunteer group known as the Gray Ladies, of which Whitfield was a member. So, he explained, she actually has served the hospital almost as long as the hospital has been in existence.

Johnnie Knott, president of the BWWMH Auxiliary, said the one aim of the members from the beginning is “to offer their time and talents to the service of others.”

She praised Whitfield as her mentor and how she shared her loving smile, service and leadership in helping the Auxiliary grow and serving “as a role model for past and current members.”

“We are proud and blessed to have this facility” in Demopolis, said assistant hospital administrator Art Evans in his opening remarks.

Reviewing all the services provided by the hospital, Evans said it has a budget of $65 million and has some 400 employees.

Mrs. Johnnie Knott, BWWMH Auxiliary President, speaks during the Anniversary Celebration and Plaque Dedication marking Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital's 60 years of service.

Mrs. Johnnie Knott, BWWMH Auxiliary President, speaks during the Anniversary Celebration and Plaque Dedication marking Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s 60 years of service.

“Things we have here are varied and diverse,” he continued, “meeting the needs of the community.”

Dr. Maurice Fitz-Gerald, former chief of staff and chairman of the hospital board, took what Evans said and went even further. He stressed that many services provided by the hospital are better in a small town, especially since care can be reached in the first critical moments of an emergency.

Annye Braxton, a member of the board for 11 years and its current chairman, started working for the hospital as a nurse. She remembers when there were separate entrances for blacks and whites and how the facility has changed and grown during the years.

“The only way we can be successful is because of you,” she said.

At the conclusion of the program guests were treated to a buffet by the hospital’s dietary services, and tours of the hospital were provided.

Dr. M.J. Fitz-Gerald speaks during the Anniversary Celebration and Plaque Dedication marking Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital's 60 years of service.

Dr. M.J. Fitz-Gerald speaks during the Anniversary Celebration and Plaque Dedication marking Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s 60 years of service.

Mrs. Annye Braxton, Chairman of the Board, speaks during the Anniversary Celebration and Plaque Dedication marking Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital's 60 years of service.

Mrs. Annye Braxton, Chairman of the Board, speaks during the Anniversary Celebration and Plaque Dedication marking Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s 60 years of service.

Assistant Administrator Arthur Evans speaks during the Anniversary Celebration and Plaque Dedication marking Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital's 60 years of service.

Assistant Administrator Arthur Evans speaks during the Anniversary Celebration and Plaque Dedication marking Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s 60 years of service.