Editorial: What makes a community strong?
What makes a community strong?
Great schools. A vibrant local business district. Safe neighborhoods. Parks and other amenities. A network of local organizations and churches providing outreach to those in physical and spiritual need.
Those are just a few of the many things required to make a vital and active community. Another item sure to be on the top of any such list would be a quality hospital.
For the past 35 years, residents of Gloucester and surrounding counties have been fortunate to have just that. When Walter Reed Memorial Hospital opened its doors for the first time in September of 1977, it marked the beginning of a new chapter for the Middle Peninsula.
No longer would residents be faced with long treks to Newport News, Richmond or beyond for their health care needs. No longer would emergency patients risk their lives as they are transported across the river, subject to the vagaries of traffic and bridge openings. It’s just comforting to know that help is right down the street, if ever we need it.
Much has changed over the past 35 years, and the hospital is no exception. While some changes were cosmetic (like the change in name to Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, or its access road), others have had a direct impact on our lives and our health, like the addition of the Riverside Wellness and Fitness Center or, more recently, the Riverside Middle Peninsula Cancer Center. RWRH has remained on the cutting edge of medical technology, from Open Bore MRI equipment to CT scanners.
And the hospital continues to change and grow. By the end of this year, a new 12,000-square-foot, eight-bed Intensive Care Unit will open, featuring the J. Doswell Dutton Family Care Center. That 900-square-foot center will be a home away from home for families of loved ones in the hospital for extended stays.
For 35 years, Walter Reed has been a valuable member of our community. We look forward to the next 35 … and beyond.