Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yellow Cars Make Me Thankful!

I saw a yellow Volkswagen yesterday and thought about something I was grateful for...in that case it was my wonderful children!

At the Iowa Hospital Association's annual meeting in October, Administrators Suzanne Cooner and Doris Rindels attended a session where the speaker encouraged them to always pause for a moment and think about something they were grateful for when they see a yellow car. They mentioned this to the GRMC administrative team during a follow-up meeting and ever since, I have been on the lookout for yellow! It is amazing how many yellow vehicles you see when you start looking for them.

It also reminded me about our stress management program called HeartMath. (You can go back to other posts I've written about HeartMath here.)

Quick coherence has three simple steps: 1) bring your attention to your heart, 2) breathe deeply, and 3) think about something that brings you a feeling of deep appreciation. Everytime I practice HeartMath, I also get to think about things for which I am grateful. Throw a prayer in there with yellow cars and HeartMath and everyday I get to think about all the blessings in my life many, many times.

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving. I enjoy this wonderful holiday devoted to giving thanks for the blessings in life. This year in addition to appreciating yellow cars, HeartMath, and prayer, I have also been blessed with good health and wonderful family and friends (including my new best friend, Angie).

I am also fortunate to have a great job surrounded by hundreds of caring people who make GRMC the special place it is today! We recently lost one of those extraordinary team members, Shirle Huth. What a joy it was to be around Shirle... she always went the extra mile for patients, her co-workers, and beloved family. We certainly will miss her warm smile, humorous perspective, and compassionate heart. I truly appreciated knowing her.

Working in healthcare is an awesome experience and responsibility. Everyday we get the pleasure of making a difference in the lives of others. It's not always easy but it is clearly meaningful work. I want to say a special thank you to all the men and women associated with Grinnell Regional for their daily commitment to our mission of service. It is important work. I also want to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope you take some time to celebrate the joy in life that comes from being grateful for your many blessings.

Watch for a yellow car and give it a try... I think you will like it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

An Open Letter of Thanks

To the Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust, Iowa Radiology, Jewel Kintzinger Day and Burt Day, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Employees and Foundation, Grinnell Regional Auxiliary, Brownell Family Foundation, and Grinnell College:

I want to take this opportunity in a public way to thank you for your ongoing support of Grinnell Regional Medical Center.

To the Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust and Iowa Radiology, thank you for your successful challenge grant to the community for our MRI project. Donors from across the area met your $50,000 challenge that doubled the total amount for this project and has raised $100,000 toward the goal of $300,000.

Jewel and Burt, I want to thank you for remembering your brother, Dick Wendt, and celebrating Jeld-Wen with your gift to the MRI project.

Thanks to the employees of Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and its foundation for your $20,000 gift toward the new MRI. Our organizations enjoy a great partnership that benefits Grinnell and the surrounding area.

Thank you to Grinnell College for issuing an additional matching challenge to the community to meet our $300,000 goal for the new MRI.

And, I cannot say thank you enough to the members of the Grinnell Regional Auxiliary for their hands-on support everyday and for their 2010 gift of $22,000 to the MRI campaign.

Remodeling is already underway within the radiology department to prepare the room and install the new MRI unit. Technology has advanced greatly since our current MRI was built. There are so many reasons why this upgrade is needed for patients, physicians, and the medical center.

Thank you to the Brownell Family Foundation and your $25,000 challenge to match new and additional donations to the 2010 annual fund drive. Gifts to the annual fund drive support GRMC everyday for equipment purchases, services, and programs.

On behalf of all of us at GRMC, thank you. When we work together in this way, everyone benefits. GRMC is truly proud to be a community hospital with this extraordinary level of support.

And, thanks to all of you who have contributed or plan to donate to GRMC this year. Every gift is needed and makes a difference, no matter the size of the donation.

Todd C. Linden
President and CEO
Grinnell Regional Medical Center

Friday, November 5, 2010

Reflecting on a Life Well-Lived

I recently attended the memorial service for Maynard Raffety. The church was standing room only and it seemed the whole community turned out to pay tribute to a great man. Maynard served on both the hospital board and our foundation board. In fact, he was on the search committee that brought me to Grinnell almost 18 years ago. I had the privilege of knowing Maynard from my first few moments in this community. He was the consummate board member. Wise, honest, caring, mission focused, and supportive are a few words that come to mind regarding his commitment to great governance at GRMC. Personally, he always made you feel special and you knew exactly how committed he was to making a difference in the world.

Dr. Stan Greenwald is Maynard's cousin and is currently serving on the GRMC board of directors. He provided a stirring eulogy at Maynard's service. The thing that really stood out for me in listening to Stan was "The Maynard Test." Stan and Maynard grew up together on neighboring farms and Maynard was the eldest of the kids from the two families as I understood it. "The Maynard Test" was simple: What would Maynard do in this situation? What would Maynard say in this situation? "The Maynard Test" clearly led you to do "the right thing."

Stan comforted the family, and especially the many grandchildren, by reminding them that although they would miss Maynard, he would live on in each of them through the wonderful example he was in the way he lived his life. He was truly an exemplary man in love of God, family, and community. Stan has all the same awesome traits Maynard was known for and I have been the beneficiary in both counts for their service on the hospital board.

When I went to see Maynard at the Mayflower Community a few days prior to his death, I was moved by how peaceful he was. We shared a few moments of memories (such as the time he flew me and a couple buddies to Phoenix to watch the Hawks play in a sweet 16 basketball tournament game - what an amazing flight halfway across the country! Because of the low ceiling that day, we were literally flying through the valley between the Rocky Mountains!) We talked about the common love we shared for the hospital and its mission to the community. He told me he was glad to have known me and complimented me for the leadership at GRMC. Even in his final days, he was focused on others. As I said goodbye to Maynard, I told him my life was blessed immensely by his friendship and that I was grateful for the opportunity to know him.

We will greatly miss Maynard; however there is no doubt his legacy of kindness, generosity, community spirit, hard work and wisdom will live on. GRMC is a better place because of Maynard and the work of countless and selfless leaders like him.