Rangely Celebrates Hospital Foundation

(Susie Berardi)

Almost seventy-five years ago, Rangely's first medical provider was a country doctor who rode horseback from Meeker. Then in 1947 the town opened Rangely Community Hospital and in 2013 built the current Rangely District Hospital (RDH) which serves the area from Dinosaur National Monument to Douglas peak and Baxter Pass; and from the Utah Border to midpoint between Rangely and Meeker.

Continuing its rural healthcare heritage, Rangely celebrates the establishment of the Rangely Hospital Foundation (Foundation)--dedicated to raising and stewarding funds for the advancement of community health. John Payne, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said, "For a long time I have seen the benefits of a hospital foundation in other places and have coveted such a foundation for our hospital. It seems to me that a committed board of like-minded community members who desire to see their community improved by supporting a medical heath center is an obvious choice."

The Foundation focuses on town projects which 1) maintain rural integrity; 2) create healthy environments; 3) provide senior citizens with interactive outdoor activities; 4) offer the youth recreational activities; 5) encourage residents to live healthy lives; and 6) facilitate community relationships. Board member, Jeannie Caldwell, expresses these values saying, "As I was looking for ways to serve and love our community, I strongly felt the importance of a hospital to a rural community. A strong hospital touches most lives in a community. Anything I could do to assist with the health of the community was important to me."

Each Board member offers experience and knowledge beneficial to creating a success foundation. Keith Peterson says, "The community will begin to see (in short order) tangible projects that support community wellness and provide opportunities for healthy interactions between the hospital and its constituents."

Presently the Foundation is developing a senior-living park (North Park) adjacent to Eagle Crest Senior Living Center--an outdoor recreational park where the residents can walk, exercise, sit, and relax, encouraging its senior citizens to socialize, stay active, maintain strength and flexibility. North Park will enhance the quality of seniors' lives by offering adaptive pathways and seating areas, picnic settings, bird watching stands, exercise spaces, a memorial garden, gazebo, and waterfall.

To fund this project, the Foundation submitted an AARP Challenge Grant this month, soon will submit a Main Street Grant and hopes both will be awarded.

To participate in creation of this Eagle Crest recreation park the Foundation invites community members to donate. Appreciative of the donations already received--memorial and anonymous-- with its 501(c)(3) designation, the Foundation encourages memorial gifts, estate gifts, living legacies, among other donations which will become the hallmark of a successful partnership with the community.

Living in a small town, Payne admits that "Rural healthcare is being attacked and compromised from all sides: public opinion, governmental regulations and unfunded mandates, provider shortages, all work to cripple our efforts to provide healthcare services to our small town." The Foundation is committed ensuring healthcare for residents.

Board member Susie Berardi says, "We are an active, empowered community from young to old who care about our Town and the health of its residents; we willingly participate in its care and maintenance; and we enjoy sharing it with all who love the small-town rural lifestyle it affords."

Looking forward the Foundation will sponsor a Community Yard Sale the first week of June, and its First Annual Golf Tournament the second week of September, just two ways the Foundation is bridging the Hospital to the Community by creating a strong partnership based upon trust and shared missions.