St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital Celebrates Successful Campaign, Dedicates Garden and Peace Pole

Staff Report

Monday, April 3rd, 2023

Stormy weather did not dampen spirits at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital on Sunday, March 26, as hospital leaders and community members came together to celebrate the successful conclusion of a $3 million capital campaign, the dedication of the Shane Meder Memorial Garden, and the “planting” of a Rotary International Peace Pole.

“Good Samaritan Hospital has come a long way,” said hospital President Tanya Adcock in celebrating the success of the Expanding Technology Elevating Care (ETEC) Campaign. “Because of the generosity of this community, we have been able to acquire new equipment that has allowed us to expand access to care. Ours is the first hospital in Georgia to have a 16-channel MRI unit and is one of only a few – and the only critical access hospital in the state – to have a 640-slice CT machine.”

Adcock went on to note that, as important as excellent equipment is, it is not enough. “It’s the people who make it special. It’s the care, compassion and expertise of our physicians and staff that truly make the difference. My job is to give them the best tools possible, and this community makes that possible. 

“We are so fortunate to live in such a generous community,” said Foundation Chair Becky Smith. “Very few communities our size have such an amazing and progressive hospital. It’s truly the passion and generosity of our community that makes St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital the special place of healing that it is.”

The 16-channel MRI unit replaces a much less powerful trailer-based unit that used to be positioned behind the hospital, according to MRI technologist Jesse Chalker. Adding it required the hospital’s first physical expansion. Now, patients can reach the unit without going outdoors. Even more importantly, Good Sam now has the ability to expand the days and hours during which MRI is available to better serve the community. In addition, the new unit is the widest and quietest 1.5-Tesla machine on the market, is significantly faster than the old machine, and includes technology that makes it possible to safely obtain high quality images of patients with artificial joints and other implants.

In partnership with Greensboro cardiologist Dr. John Layher, Good Sam will begin using the MRI system for cardiac studies this summer, Chalker added. 

The 640-slice CT machine replaces Good Sam’s 64-slice unit. It is so fast it can build a highly detailed 3D image of the inside of the heart’s arteries between heartbeats. It is also a key diagnostic test for patients with stroke symptoms and a wide variety of other conditions. Chalker also noted that because the system is so fast, patients receive an extremely low dose of radiation, which makes it ideal for children and other people who have a hard time holding still but need a CT exam.

The third component funded by the ETEC campaign is a dedicated cardiac stress lab, also located in the new addition. Radiology Manager Elaine Craft told tour groups on Sunday that the new stress lab augments and expands access to stress testing and the hospital’s nuclear medicine room, which had shared space with the stress lab previously.

In addition to concluding the ETEC campaign, Sunday’s event also included two dedication ceremonies.

First, friends of the late Shane Meder gathered to dedicate the Shane Meder Memorial Rose Garden behind the hospital’s Café patio. Led by longtime Foundation Board member Louie Seabolt, those gathered remembered Meder for his talents, his kindness, and his dedication to the hospital and the lake area. Following Meder’s untimely death, the Foundation board decided to name the rose garden he had championed in his honor. Adcock noted that during the worst of the pandemic, the garden quickly became a place where staff could find a few moments of peace to pray, gather themselves, and return to caring for seriously ill patients. 

Second, Foundation Board member Tina Fischlin led the group in a dedication ceremony for the “planting” of an International Peace Pole on the hospital’s front lawn. The monument was designed by Ollie and Barnard Rivers from Madison Monuments in Madison, and the granite for the monument was sourced in North Georgia and installed by Gregg Ruff with Riveredge Granite from Elberton. Like more than 250,000 Peace Poles worldwide, it carries the inscription “May peace prevail on earth” in multiple languages on its four sides. At Good Sam, the languages are English, Spanish and Creek, the language of the indigenous people who lived in what is now Piedmont Georgia.

“Saying ‘thank you’ doesn’t seem like enough,” Adcock said at the conclusion of the event. “The way we’re going to continue saying ‘thank you’ is by being the best we can be.”