Windham Hospital Kicks Off 75th Anniversary Celebration
WILLIMANTIC, CT – April 17, 2008 – The Windham Hospital family took time out on Thursday, April 10th, to celebrate a significant milestone--the 75th Anniversary of the Hospital. Former staff members mingled with current staff, Connecticut state dignitaries sent congratulations, and a time capsule was ceremoniously filled and buried on the grounds. The event was the kick-off for a summer-long celebration that will include some historic displays, a "mini-movie" oral history of the Hospital on DVD, a revival of the theatrical revue, "The Willim-Antics" in May (previous editions of this show occurred in 1949, 1963, 1965, and 1969 and featured the talents of Hospital staff and supporters), a float in the annual Willimantic Boombox Parade on the 4th of July, and numerous Hospital Auxiliary events. In September, the Hospital will cap its celebration by participating in the 3rd Thursday StreetFest in Willimantic--a town-wide "block party" which features local musicians, ethnic foods of all kinds, and activities for revelers of all ages. “It is particularly appropriate that we join in with these community events,” commented CEO and President Dick Brvenik, “because the community has steadfastly supported the Hospital throughout its 75 years. As we celebrate our own history, we also celebrate our community’s history, and we are ever-mindful that today’s achievements and success are built on yesterday’s hard work, dedication and outstanding support from our community.” Windham Hospital was formally dedicated on April 5, 1933, and opened its doors on April 26, 1933.
On April 10th, the day began at 6:15 AM with a flag-raising ceremony just outside the Outpatient Services facility at the Hospital. Members of the Airforce ROTC Honor Guard from the University of Connecticut raised the flag according to military tradition. Thanks to the efforts of Congressman Joe Courtney, the flag they raised had been flown over the US Capitol in Washington, DC on March 6th, 2008, in honor of Windham Hospital's 75th Anniversary.
Later in the afternoon, the Windham Hospital family gathered for the formal opening ceremony. Lt. Governor Michael Fedele presented the Hospital with a proclamation from the Governor, and Representative Walter Pawelkewicz read a citation from the Connecticut State Legislature. Past and present leaders from the Hospital’s Board of Directors and the Auxiliary to Windham Hospital were recognized for their long-standing support (the Auxiliary also celebrates its 75th Anniversary in 2008), and retired physicians were honored. Representatives from the community and hospital staff placed items into the time capsule, including a poster—a colorful design created by local graphic artist Bill Bottomley—which carried the thoughts and good wishes of many to future generations.
Mr. Bottomley says his inspiration for the design came from the Hospital’s history, and cites the story of two fir trees planted near the Hospital entrance in soil collected from the towns of the region. That story led him to incorporate a fir tree in the design as “a suitable expression of continuity and steadfastness” and a “symbol of the bond between the Hospital and the community it serves.” The design graces banners in the Hospital and along Willimantic's Main Street, and will be used in publications and t-shirts throughout the Anniversary festivities this year.
Next in the schedule of Anniversary events is the Revival of the Willim-Antics at the ACT Theatre on May 28 and 29. To learn more about remaining events in 2008, people may visit the Hospital website at www.windhamhospital.org.
PHOTO CAPTION: Left to right, Fran Boulay, Director of Patient Access, Anthea Woodley, MD and Chief of Medical Staff at Windham Hospital, Donna Evan (former Auxiliary chair), and Mary Russell (a former nurse at Windham Hospital) place their items in the time capsule.