A matter of Weems surviving

Published: Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 06:39 AM.

Shortly after I returned to the Franklin County community in 2010, I put myself forward as a potential member of the board of directors at George E. Weems Memorial Hospital. I knew this community service would be challenging for me.

In addition to my primary responsibilities to my wife and two children, I had pressing duties as a pastor, at Fellowship Baptist Church, in Carrabelle, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Liberty University, and my soon-to-be opened law practice, which is now a full-time position with the state of Florida as a criminal defense attorney.

On the other hand, I love Weems. The facility had a part in saving my grandmother’s life by providing life-saving services for her when transport to Tallahassee or Panama City was not possible because of the urgent care she needed. Therefore, I determined that investing my time in the hospital was needful and in fact God’s will for my life.

I assumed my duties upon the recommendation of the Weems board of directors and the unanimous ratification of the county commission. Since that time I have enjoyed my service and look forward to continuing it as long as the county commissioners believe my service is helpful to the Weems organization.

For a number of months our primary task as a board was to search out, interview and offer employment to a person qualified to serve as the chief executive officer of the hospital. After reviewing many resumes and conducting interviews both in person and electronically, the board recommended to the county commission that we extend an offer of employment as Weems’ CEO to Ray Brownsworth. In the end he assumed the position, and relocated his family to Apalachicola. He and his wife, Lori, purchased a home, engaged in our community and immediately began to communicate their long-term commitment to our hospital and community.

Over time, Ray has proven himself to be a person dedicated to the Weems system. He is professional in his conduct and personable in his interaction with stakeholders in our hospital and community. As a member of the board, I hold him in the highest regard.

Presently, Ray is making difficult choices at the hospital and its associated clinics. His primary charges as he came to Weems have been first, to put the current hospital and clinic operations on a profitable footing and, second, to begin to cast vision for a future which involves the improvement of current operations and the eventual construction of a new hospital.

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