Reminiscing about things in the past can bring back memories, not forgotten by those who lived them. Mercy Hospital in Portsmouth has been gone for a long time now, but those nurses and even some of the doctors, have great memories of the time they spent at the hospital or in the School of Nursing.
The alumni of Mercy Hospital School of Nursing, keep the memory alive with their frequently scheduled meetings. They now have a way to spread the memory to the community with the establishment of two benches which are outside the Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Portsmouth Family Health Center. Former nurses and a former physician gathered to celebrate the installment of new benches in honor of Mercy Hospital and nurses.
“It is neat to see the nurses gather and reminisce of their times together,” said SOMC Development Foundation’s Planned Giving and Major Events Officer, Mary Arnzen. “It is obvious that Mercy meant a lot to them and I am so glad they can share that with the community.”
After the bench was observed and pictures were taken, the former peers stood around in the frigid temperatures reminiscing of the memories they had surrounding their time at Mercy.
Ginny Wagner one of the Mercy Hospital Nurse Alumni said she had come up with the idea for the benches, after hearing of a gazebo they are going to put up after they tear down Madona Hall. She decided, “we needed a memory of something that would be permanent about us (Mercy Nurses).” Wagner also said, “the youngest nurse from Mercy is probably 75 and the oldest one is 98.”
The first bench is in tribute to Mercy Hospital with pictures of the hospital in various stages and has the nurses pin in the center. It was donated by Linda Siple Callard, one of the graduates from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing. The second bench is in tribute to the 378 nurses that graduated from the school of nursing. It has a bronze plaque with the the name of each nurse that graduated from there from 1925 to 1963. It was donated by the alumni nurses. At present, they are located on each side of the main entrance to the SOMC Family Health Center located on the corner of Waller Street and Kinney’s Lane. It is to be placed somewhere in the ‘Mercy Mile,’ when it is designed and completed.
If you would like to see the benches that hold so many memories, you can visit them at the entrance of the SOMC Portsmouth Family Health Center at 1248 Kinneys Lane, Portsmouth, OH 45662.
Since 2001, the hospital was condemned and demolished, but it definitely was not forgotten, especially by those who spent many years of their lives working or studying there.
The nurses will have their 86th annual banquet on September 8, 2018. The local nurses meet on the second Tuesday each month for luncheon. All Mercy nurses are encouraged to attend.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins 740-353-3101 ext. 1928