A bench memorializing the former chief executive officer of Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation was unveiled Friday at the 40th anniversary celebration of the company.
Lois. A. Baker, who died last June, served as chief executive officer of MCHC for more than 30 years. L.M. “Mike” Caudill, who succeeded his mother, Mrs. Baker, as chief executive officer of MCHC, and Nathan Baker, her widower, unveiled a bench with her picture engraved on the front of the memorial. On the back is a quote from Mrs. Baker, which reads “Every single thing that has happened, has happened one brick at a time.”
“Every path that is traveled starts out with a single footstep,” said Caudill. “Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation started out with three. On January 1, 1971 the Leslie Knott Letcher Perry County Community Action Council was awarded OEO grant number CG8988EC and $509,277 as part of that grant was awarded.”
Caudill said the second step was on March 2, 1973 when Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation was selected by the board of directors as the corporate name of the new corporation. And step three was when Mrs. Baker was hired as executive director.
Dr. Van Breeding said Mrs. Baker made sure MCHC facilities were clean and well lit.
“We are proud to work in clean facilities to provide the best of care,” said Breeding. “We have a lot of patients, not because they have to come to us, but because they choose to come.”
Breeding said Mrs. Baker was instrumental in starting the company.
“She was an amazing person who could build linkages everywhere,” said Breeding. “She made friends wherever she went.”
Breeding said Mrs. Baker’s memorial is the MCHC clinics.
State Rep. Leslie A. Combs said she admired Mrs. Baker for what she accomplished.
“Was that lady a pistol or what?” asked Combs. “I like people who cut to the chase. She told me what was on her mind and I didn’t have to guess.”
“We all miss her,” said G.C. Kincer, former administrator of the McRoberts Clinic. “We do want to remember Lois and remember what her purpose was. It was to take care of patients.”
In 1972 MCHC’s first clinic was opened in Wooten on the Perry/ Leslie County line. It was made up of two trailers left over from a government program. The trailers, which housed the exam rooms and office building, were secured with a common roof. The space between the trailers served as the waiting area. The clinic was later transferred to the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing in Hyden in Leslie County.
“Every little detail was important to Lois,” said Kincer. “Every moment was important to her.”
Caudill said he and the employees of MCHC are all carrying the torch left by those who have gone before them.
“It has always been the vision of MCHC to provide the very best of care to the citizens of our area of southeastern Kentucky,” said Caudill. “I think we do that. It is the people of MCHC that have made it great.”
MCHC employs about 250 people at its five clinics and Whitesburg-based central office and provides services to more than 30,000 patients each year with more than 150,000 visits each year throughout the different facilities.
Also during the corporation’s anniversary celebration a moment of silence was held for Dr. Dennis S. Sandlin, who was murdered in December 2009 at the Blackey/ Leatherwood Clinic. John C. Combs, 46, of Redfox, is accused of shooting Sandlin after he refused to give Combs pain pills.
George Kincer, director of laboratory services at the Whitesburg Clinic, was recognized for working at MCHC for 37 years.
“In 1974 Lois approached me at the hospital and asked me if I would work for MCHC at McRoberts,” said Kincer. “I felt like this new company was where I was meant to be.”