Jefferson County Health Center celebrates 100 years

Jefferson County Health Center had a full house Tuesday for its celebration of 100 years of service.

Jefferson County Health Center first opened its doors to patients on October 2, 1912 and 100 years later, hospital staff, community leaders and Jefferson County residents gathered to honor the past and look to the future.

The hospital celebrated its 100th birthday with a celebration Tuesday and a common theme was paying tribute to the past and the hard work of those who helped make the hospital what it is today.

"One hundred years for us means that we've had an opportunity to really look into our heritage, to become very aware of all the things so many people did in order to make the first health center in Jefferson County, Iowa," said Joneane Parker, Vice President of Clinical Services.

Many of the speakers read from documents and reports from 1912 and compared notes and data to the services Jefferson County Health Center provides today. The differences in numbers is staggering - from the amount of patients cared for to the number of surgeries performed in one year - but one thing became clear: the hospital's commitment to the patient is as strong as it ever was.

"It's indescribable how big this is," said Robert Keller, Jefferson County Health Center Board Chairman. "We have this beautiful new hospital, it's only three years old, we're adding services almost weekly, have a new expansion project because of it, everything within the community is positive about the hospital, it's just really wonderful to be a part of this community and this hospital."

Jefferson County Health Center is the second oldest hospital in the state, and unlike in 1912, is now able to provide for patients inside and outside the hospital, with outpatient care.

"Hospitals are very, very important to a community," said Dick Reed, of the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors. "I think of myself, a 66-year-old man, and 100 years ago, I'd be a crippled old man. But here I am, healthier, even with three surgeries, and it's because of the care that is provided here."

"I think looking back 100 years, we've had tremendous service here, the hospital has grown in what it can provide to the community," said Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy. "That's what I think I feel most proud about is that we have great care at all levels right here in our hometown, so that means a lot to us."

Jefferson County Health Center's tribute to the past went right down to the music - a Dixieland Band performed at the dedication of the hospital in 1912, and a re-created Dixieland Band performed Tuesday.