WMHS Center for Hope and Healing breaks ground
Cumberland, Md. August 27, 2019 – Western Maryland Health System broke ground Monday afternoon on the Center for Hope and Healing, a 24-hour residential treatment facility that will house patients with substance abuse and behavioral health issues.
Approximately 40 guests attended the groundbreaking, including Senator George Edwards, Mark Widmyer representing Governor Hogan, Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss and James Pyles, Allegany County Emergency Services Director. Several of these dignitaries and partners joined WMHS President and CEO Barry Ronan to ceremoniously lift the first shovel of dirt on the project.
The center will be located on Leslie Lane, adjacent to the WMHS main campus, and will be built on land gifted to WMHS from the state. Funding for the project is largely attributed to a $1,000,000 pledge from the WMHS Auxiliary, including an initial gift of $400,000 made in May of this year.
Auxiliary President Julie Davis, who works as the Fire Administration Officer for the City of Cumberland Fire Department, said at the time of the initial gift, “I see the impact this crisis has on a daily basis. I see how it taxes our emergency service providers. We were all unanimously in favor of facing this challenge and supporting a valuable asset that will effectively address the need.”
“We knew we had to be a huge supporter of the new center,” said Sherry Schmitt, Immediate Past President. “Everyone we talked to finds it to be such a worthwhile and positive thing. We have all had people in our lives who are dealing with addiction or have behavioral health problems. This is a much-needed resource. We can connect this with the other programs at WMHS and, as a result, we have a shot at making a real impact. Speaking personally, though I imagine most who work in healthcare would agree, we all seek to find that one thing that will help just one person.” The pledge will also fall under the direction of President-elect Kim Kremer, who will succeed Davis.
Speaking at the groundbreaking, Ronan told guests how appreciative WMHS is of the contributions that were made, and Foundation Executive Director Karen Johnson called the center a huge gift to the community that will make an impact well worth the investment.
Ronan said he anticipates the project to be completed in late spring 2020. Patients will stay roughly 10 days and approximately 10 employees will staff the center.
Caption: Those who broke ground at the Center for Hope and Healing were, from left to right, Shelley Waugh, Lakeside Architecture; Kevin Turley, WMHS Chief Strategy Officer; Ray Morriss, Mayor, City of Cumberland; Senator George Edwards; Barry Ronan, WMHS President & CEO; Mark Widmyer, Western Maryland Representative, Office of Governor Hogan; Julie Davis, President, WMHS Auxiliary; Sherry Schmidt, Immediate Past President, WMHS Auxiliary; Carl Belt, Carl Belt, Inc.; Jimmy Pyle, Director, Allegany County Emergency Services; Carissa Rodeheaver, WMHS Board of Directors; Karen Johnson, Executive Director, WMHS Foundation; and Jeff O’Neal, Executive Director, WMHS Clinics, Practices & Behavioral Health.