By Matt Youngfrau
HARRIS August 2, 2002 Thirty-five years ago, Sullivan County had two main hospitals one in Liberty and one in Monticello. In 1967, the two hospital boards merged, and the process began to create one hospital. Ten years later, Community General Hospital was born.
On Sunday, 25 years after the merger, Catskill Regional Medical Center's (CRMC) 25th Anniversary was celebrated at the annual Passport to Health Fair in Harris. The health fair featured representation of every department in the hospital, and each table represented a different country.
The day's events kicked off with a parade which led to the health fair. Once there, attendees received tips on living a better, healthier, and happier life.
"The staff got excited and got into it," commented CRMC Director of Volunteers Jodi Goodman. "This does tremendous public relations. The turnout has been remarkable."
During the fair, ceremonies were held to mark the anniversary. Many dignitaries from the hospital's past and present and local officials were on hand to mark the occasion.
"The two boards worked toward one main central hospital," recalled Alfred Beck, the first chair of the merged board. "Many people made the hospital what it is today. It has become a community hospital."
"We provide the best medical care that can be offered," stated the current president of the medical staff, Dr. Jacques Gulekjian. "We all can be proud. I warmly congratulate the entire staff. We are at the forefront of good, God-pleasing work."
"Recently, there has been a new life to the hospital," keynote speaker Alan Gerry said. "There is a new enthusiasm. The reputation of the institution has never been greater. We are fortunate to have it. The hospital is going in the right direction."
A few hundred people went to the fair and stayed for the ceremony. The crowd heard hospital and local officials outline the future.
"There has been a lot of work done. We have revitalized our image," remarked CRMC President and CEO Arthur Brien. "Our future is wrapped with the future of the county. We will provide the best healthcare so people will not have to leave the county. Medicine evolves. Science and technology changes. We will go with that change."
"Those with the vision helped to bring about this hospital," New York State Assemblyman Jake Gunther commented. "They had the insight for a merger. The hospital is the anchor of the community."
"We are about to step into a great era of growth," added Sullivan County Legislature Chair Leni Binder. The single most important question developers ask is, Do you provide good healthcare? The answer is, Yes, and we will continue to do so.
I am proud to represent the hospital, Sullivan County Legislator Bob Kunis said. "When you start a community, you need certain building blocks. The most important is healthcare. They provide a good comfort level. They play an important role in the community."