There were plenty of smiles, stories and a few tears as past and current Tomah Memorial Hospital employees gathered to say good-bye to the hospital during a special event Sept. 25.

“Many memories have been made at Tomah Memorial over the years and we wanted current and former staff a chance to get together and share some of those memories,” hospital marketing director Eric Prise said of the event that attracted near 70 people.

“I started as a brand-new nurse here and learned what nursing was all about, and the hospital always encouraged me to learn and to grow,” said former Tomah Memorial Hospice Touch director Mary Rezin, who worked 35-years at TMH, including 25-years as the first and only director of the hospital’s Hospice Touch program. “This hospital is so much into the community and meeting the communities’ needs. It’s amazing.”

Fellow Tomah Memorial employees Gail McGinnis, LPN and Brenda Bell, RN, also attended and shared a number of fond memories.

“There have been some awesome people that I have worked with and have made lifetime friends with after all these years,” said McGinnis who recently wrapped up a 42-year career at Tomah Memorial.

Bell, who worked 17 years, including time in the medical surgical, emergency and surgical departments, echoed the feeling about treasured friendships made during her career.

“I like this hospital and am so glad to see it prosper and move to the new facility on Gopher Drive,” Bell said.

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Tomah Memorial Hospital acute care registered nurse Allison Linehan, brought her grandmother, Virginia Murray who worked over 40 years at Tomah Memorial.

“I loved working in the OB (obstetrics) dept., and being with all the babies,” said Virginia.

Linehan agreed with many who attended the event saying that she would miss Tomah Memorial but added that her grandmother’s career at TMH inspired her to be a nurse.

“It’s why I became a nurse, she was a great role model,” said Linehan, who has worked at TMH the last four-and-half years.

Staff had a chance to write a good-bye message on a giant banner that will eventually be located at Tomah Health.

Like Tomah Memorial Hospital, Tomah Health will operate as an independent, 25-bed critical access hospital but in its new three-story, 140,000-square-foot facility located at 501 Gopher Dr., on Tomah’s south side. Tomah Health will feature 24-hour, emergency and urgent care, medical/surgical inpatient and outpatient care, diagnostic imaging, infusion services, women’s health with obstetrics and water birth options, rehabilitation services with physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology and cardiac rehabilitation, laboratory, in-house pharmacy, nutrition services, sleep services, respiratory therapy and community outreach programs.

The first patient day for Tomah Health was Oct. 2.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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