28 Nov 2017

Nantucket Progress

Henry Ford might have known a little something about progress.  He once famously said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”  It seems he identified the three key ingredients for getting things done. He knew, most importantly, that whatever he might have the creative genius to accomplish could only be done with others – by coming together, keeping together and working together. Mr. Ford established the Ford Motor Company in 1903, but it would be another five years before he rolled out the first Model T. Over a century later, automobiles may be driving themselves, but their very foundation is still accredited to a man with a vision for progress.
It’s been exciting (and frankly amazing) to watch progress in action on Nantucket the past few years as the Nantucket Cottage Hospital administration and their board took on the unenviable challenge of championing a new health care campus for the island. I say unenviable, because it was bound to be met with a few hurdles, obstacles and grumbles along the way. Like Henry Ford, the visionaries at NCH, understood that the first step in a project this large would be to bring the community together. They’ve done a spectacular job of doing just that.
This is My Hospital” is the campaign slogan that has resonated with local and summer residents, island visitors, tradesmen, medical professionals and multiple generations. Community members are showcased giving testimonies as to why the hospital is important to their families. There isn’t a single one of us who can’t relate. I recently had the unfortunate opportunity to spend seven hours with a family member in the emergency room. All I could think of the entire time was how blessed we are to have such a professional medical staff, testing facilities and direct connection with Mass General Hospital in Boston.  The health condition was methodically diagnosed, treatment prescribed and we left knowing that “this is our hospital” too.
The coming together has happened, the keeping together won’t be hard. In this climate of escalating divisiveness, the one thing we can all agree on is the need for a state of the art medical facility. The outpouring of support for the project has been mind-blowing. NCH has raised $108M of its $120M goal…all debt free and all from private donations. With single contributions as small as $1 and as large as $10M….and every penny gratefully accepted…the dream of better island health care is becoming a reality.
The final step in the process – the “working together” – was evident as the people of Nantucket gathered to sign the final steel beam installed in the new facility in October. Children signed in all capital letters and grandparents proudly penned their signatures alongside them. Obviously, none of us hope to have a reason to frequent the beautiful new campus. But, if and when the need arises, we’ll be grateful to the visionaries at Nantucket Cottage Hospital for working together with the Nantucket community to design and build a facility that all of us are proud to call “our hospital.”
Shellie Dunlap  
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