The dream of a regional cancer and medical center has actually materialized from “Yes, let’s raise $5-million to build it,” to raising over $5.4 million, and now the construction of the Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center has really been underway for seven months.
What an exciting year 2010 has been! To think that this time last year the 4 acres east of Uvalde Memorial Hospital, which was donated by the late Joseph Puccini, was thick south Texas brush land. Now the construction fence surrounding the land is a familiar sight that I drive by almost daily to check on the progress made by D. Wilson Construction Company. The dream of a regional cancer and medical center has actually materialized from “Yes, let’s raise $5-million to build it,” to raising over $5.4 million, and now the construction of the Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center has really been underway for seven months. What a great experience this has been, and continues to be, and I am just thankful to have a front-row seat.
This project is the result of people recognizing the need for care close to home and making the choice to become involved. The center will serve the citizens of a nine-county service area that includes Dimmit, Edwards, Kinney, Maverick, Medina, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde and Zavala.
The center consists of two buildings; the first at 10,189 square feet is focused on providing cancer care and holds the first radiation vault west of San Antonio and a ten-station infusion suite. The second building at 17,000 square feet will be the new location for recently recruited physicians to Uvalde. The new physicians include orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jack Conoley, cardiologist Dr. K. N. Anwar, general surgeon Dr. Sandra Boenig, and pediatrician Dr. Roy Guerrero.
The building will have space for additional physicians that are also needed in Uvalde. Construction superintendent Luke Dunning tells us everything is going according to schedule. With taping and floating work definition to the future doctor offices on track, we can expect completion in June 2011.
I remember fondly a day in June 2008 at a meeting with former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe, Jr. and Janey Briscoe Marmion accompanied by UMH administrator Jim Buckner and campaign committee members Carol Kothmann and Dr. John Shudde when the campaign gained momentum. Gov. Briscoe and Mrs. Marmion donated $1.2 million to the campaign and challenged us to match their gift. We left that meeting elated and ready to work hard to meet their generosity. UMH is so appreciative of the life and legacy of Gov. Briscoe. Through his generous gifts to our campaign and numerous other charities across the state, he has made our region a better place.
At the May 11, 2010 groundbreaking ceremony, Dr. Shudde, co-chairman of the campaign committee, characterized the project as a love story. He said it is not a Hollywood love story, but a story of the love that caring area residents have for people in need. The benefactor gets blessed as well as the giver. And it feels good.” Dr. Shudde is so right. We want to sincerely thank every individual, family, corporation, and charitable foundation who has been a part in making this project so successful to date. We look forward to celebrating with each of you in the near future when this project meets its ultimate goal of taking care of patients where they need and deserve to be treated – right here close to home. To each of you, during this most blessed season, we wish you a wonderful Christmas.