Mercy celebrates 125 years in the Ozarks
Flag presentations to be held Thursday
In 1891, the Mercy Hospital system was born when the Sisters of Mercy responded to a plea for help in the Ozarks.
Thereafter, three Sisters traveled from St. Louis to Springfield and proceeded to turn an eight-room house into the town's first hospital.
Over the next 125 years, their ministry set out to touch lives in not just one, but several communities spanning southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. That system, now called Mercy Springfield Communities, has grown exponentially and now includes six hospitals, three specialty hospitals, nearly 700 doctors, about 10,000 employees and numerous clinic locations.
Though the hospital system is much larger, its mission still remains the same according to current leadership -- to bring to life the healing ministry of Jesus.
"The foundation put in place by the sisters remains solid," said Doug Stroemel, administrator of Mercy Hospital Aurora and Mercy Hospital Cassville. "At every turn, we're improving the technology and services we provide so we can reach more people than ever before."
To celebrate Mercy's 125th year of service in the Ozarks, the hospital will host two special flag presentation ceremonies Thursday. The first is at 11 a.m. at Mercy Hospital Aurora, located at 500 S. Porter Ave, in the Carol Morris Conference Room. The second is at 3 p.m. at Mercy Hospital Cassville, located at 94 Main St., in Conference Room C.
Each ceremony will include a symbolic flag presentation by two of Mercy's long-standing employees, George Roden and Linda Cooper, who have each been with the Mercy system for 35 years. There will also be a special address, invocation, an anniversary message by Sister Cabrini Koelsch and a prayer. Refreshments will be served immediately following each event.
"It's not an American flag, it's a commemorative Mercy flag celebrating the 125 years," Stroemel said. "It's an additional flag that we will be hoisting. We'll have the presentation of the flag, then after, we will be flying the flags for the remainder of this year for the anniversary.
"It's a white flag with the Mercy logo. We'll have two of our coworkers with the most years of service presenting flag."
Stroemel said as an administrator and employee, he was proud to be a part of the common mission of Mercy and meeting the needs of the community to provide services.
"We are one of five regional facilities in the Springfield Community," he said. "We're really proud to be part of Mercy, and of the ability to be able to continue the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy and of when we talk about that, safe, quality, compassionate and exceptional service.
"I think we're steadfast in that we want to always be able to provide that care, but also meet the needs of our community. And, we're always listening to the needs of the community."
One example of that, Stoemel said, has been outreach services. For instance, because local residents are a significant driving distance away from the nearest major hospital, Mercy responded to that need by having a general surgeon, ear, nose and throat specialists, cardiologist, podiatrist and occupational medicine specialist visit locally.
"We're really proud of our team of physicians and coworkers," Stroemel said. "We have a great team in all of our facilities that work so diligently to provide excellent care and meet the needs of the residents of our communities."
Stroemel also said there are numerous benefits to being part of a large system like Mercy, such as group purchasing benefits for supplies and drugs, and a comprehensive electronic system to access and manage health records, among others.
"All those things would be different if we were an independent, free-standing hospital," he said.
The community is invited to attend both celebrations.