Monday, March 09, 2015
Transcript provided for Nixon speech at Mercy Hospital opening ceremony
Gov. Jay Nixon delivered remarks at the opening ceremony for the new Mercy Hospital Joplin. The new hospital replaces the former St. John’s Regional Medical Center, which was destroyed by the deadly tornado that struck Joplin on May 22, 2011. His prepared remarks are below:
Thank you, Sister Roch. You and all of the Sisters of Mercy continue to be a source of inspiration for this community, and we thank you for all you do.
It is indeed an honor, and a delight, to again be with the Mercy Joplin family as we celebrate, and dedicate, this center of healing.
Healing is a powerful blessing… and it always has been. The New Testament Gospels relate more than 25 miracles where Jesus healed those broken in body, mind or spirit.
Healing hands have long been a vital part of Joplin’s character, and of its strength as a community, especially at Mercy.
That has been true at each location where the staff of Mercy Joplin has served the people of this region, and it will be true here.
In those dark days of late May, 2011, who could have dared dream – or even hope – of a day like today?
Many of you here today, that’s who…And especially, people like Lynn Britton… Gary Pulsipher… and Mike McCurry.
The dream to rebuild was helped immensely by friends from around the world – especially, as Lynn mentioned, through the generosity of the United Arab Emirates. We thank them for all they have done.
From the very beginning, Mercy was committed to rebuilding. But four years ago, on the morning of May 23, that was a task that seemed daunting… beyond comprehension.
Yet you dreamed of this day – and then worked tirelessly to make it a reality… Because you have the faith to know that “for God, all things are possible.”
When the hospital that stood for more than 40 years on McClelland Boulevard took a direct hit, it was the quick and courageous actions of staff that saved so many lives that day.
And in those dark days, you were not alone in responding to Joplin’s many needs.
Men and women from more than 400 law enforcement departments and emergency response agencies in Missouri and nearby states… State resources from every department, including the National Guard, the Highway Patrol, SEMA, Health, Social Services and Revenue …and a flood of volunteers from across the country and around the world who would eventually number over 175,000, putting in more than 1.1 million hours of service.
And there has been a seemingly inexhaustible wellspring of resolve to energize the professionals of Mercy in continuing to meet the healthcare needs of this community …
You provided that care in a field hospital and emergency room established and set up by the Missouri National Guard, the Missouri Disaster Medical Team, SEMA and the Department of Health and Senior Services....
You provided that care in the modular hospital that took the place of the field hospital… and in the temporary hospital that would be the gateway to this magnificent place of healing and care.
With a vision that saw beyond the rubble to what could and would be… with a hope for a future that would see this city and this hospital rise again… and with a faith in each other and in God, you were equal to the challenge.
From May 22, 2011, through today, I have been proud to stand with the people of Joplin through the long process of rebuilding.
I joined you at the Mercy prayer service for Joplin, just three weeks after the tornado. This extended family came together to pray, to remember, to mourn and, yes, to rejoice.
The themes that day touched on the tradition of service to Joplin, and the surrounding area… and how those traditions would continue in the face of an unprecedented challenge.
Then there was the need to continue investing in human capital. We all knew that for Mercy Joplin to succeed – and indeed, for Joplin’s economy to come back – the pool of talented and highly skilled health care professionals who are the backbone of this region needed to be retained.
Mercy was committed to keeping this family together – and followed through on that commitment with the support that your staff needed… and that has helped make this blessed day a reality.
In the face of a challenge faced by few other communities in this nation, Joplin has persevered.
Together, you have made this city – and this hospital – symbols of courage and strength – and a symbol of the toughest people on God’s green earth.
Today, we say another prayer of thanks… and ask for the continued blessings that have made Joplin a beacon of hope and inspiration for the whole world.
My congratulations to the Mercy Joplin family… and to the people of Joplin… on this day of celebration – and on a promise fulfilled. Thank you, and God bless.