Editorial: Look what we can do

We are very proud of our readers.
Last week 1,815 local residents went to the polls and voted to approve the non-binding referendum telling our county commissioners that you support the raising up to 3 mils worth of taxes (potentially $1.2 million) to support the operation of Jefferson Hospital. For every voter who cast a “yes” vote, this was a brave, unselfish act that shows you not only support local health care and the future economic development of our community, but it also shows you understand the importance of sharing a minor burden to support the greater good. We salute you. We applaud you. And we are proud to call you neighbor.
We congratulate Jefferson Hospital on this victory and for the work it put into educating our community on the importance of this issue. For the last few months Lou Semrad, the hospital’s new CEO, has spent long days and nights not only overseeing current hospital operations and developing a plan that promises to reduce the facility’s need for financial assistance from the county, but also meeting with local churches, community groups, businesses and individuals about this important election. He spoke on the challenges facing rural healthcare, presented his plan for growing revenue and reducing costs, answered questions and accepted criticisms, all with a calm, assured manner that inspired confidence from the community. Lou, we liked what we heard, and we are excited that yours is the vision that is leading us through these difficult times.
Since the election we have heard stories of so many local individuals who recognized the potential impact of this vote and stepped up to support the cause. We heard about one man, a Wadley native, who provided transportation for elderly residents in his area who did not have a way of their own to get to the polls. We also heard about a Wrens woman who, having recently gained first-hand knowledge of the superior care at Jefferson Hospital, took it upon herself to call around 28 friends and encourage them to vote in support of the referendum. Reportedly, she wouldn’t just take their word and told each she wanted their “I’m a Georgia voter” sticker. When she arrived home Election Night her door was covered in the little round stickers.
 Again, we are proud of the results of this election and all the work that went into securing the win. There is a lesson here, one in what we can accomplish when we share a vision of what the future should hold and we all work together, unselfishly, for the good of all.