December 13, 2018
BY: MIKE OAKLEY & MIKE HOBSON
Bibb Medical Center Board of Directors honored some very important community leaders Thursday evening with a private ceremony and awards banquet held in the Congregate Living Center Dining area on Medical Center grounds. The event was attended by current hospital board members, BMC staff and family members of the honorees.
Dr. John Meigs started the evening by recounting what each individual meant to not only the hospital, medical care and quality of life but to Bibb County and the state, as well.
Dr. Meigs presented 82 year old Dr. William Owings with a Crystal Placard, recognizing his more than 50 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Bibb County as a Physician, Surgeon, Teacher, Mentor, Colleague & Friend; and calling him the longest serving active member of the Bibb Medical Center staff. He recounted how Owings was the youngest graduate of medical school in state history at the time. He actually had to wait until he turned legal age to practice medicine.
Bibb Medical Center CEO Joseph Marchant said “the Hospital Board created two honorary positions for two retiring Board Members to honor the extraordinary support given to the medical center, and for their wisdom, counsel, and leadership.” He also told about the state of rural health care in Alabama and how many rural hospitals had closed or were nearing critical status. He mentioned that Bibb County’s situation was the envy of all around. “Thanks to what these men put in place, Bibb County is one of the very few counties that can say their hospital entity is a successful one.”
“Jim Oakley was awarded the status of Chairman Emeritus and Hugh Edmonds was awarded the status of Director Emeritus, both lifetime appointments. Both have served for over 30 years in their respective board positions” said Marchant. Oakley was the longest serving chairman of the hospital board, logging 33 years in that position and helping make decisions that had far-reaching ramifications and created the successful entity that is now BMC. Oakley said, “I once signed my name to a note that totaled $1 million. I was just hoping that note had been paid off!”
Edmonds was recalled as the “voice of business” during his tenure. With him it was always the bottom line. Marchant recalled that Edmonds fussed about the cost of the buildings then got upset when he thought there should have been more apartments built. “We were worried about not having enough tenants and Mr. Edmonds was saying we didn’t build enough rooms. We are at 100 percent capacity with a waiting list so I would say he was exactly right.”
Bibb Medical Center will soon celebrate its 60th year of service to the Bibb County area. Opened in 1959 the original small hospital has added a nursing home, multiple clinics and physician services, congregate living and retirement community and has over 300 team members working in the center. The Bibb Medical Center contributes over $35 Million annually to the economy of Bibb County.