Northwest Health - Starke furthered its mission of helping people live healthier lives by presenting a $1,500 donation to the Knox Parks and Recreation Department on April 28. The donation was made as a part of its Doctors’ Day celebration and to honor its physicians who work hard around the clock to keep the local community healthy.
“We are a community-based entity. We have continued our culture around supporting not just the people within our walls, but everyone, including our patients and families, and their lives on the outside as well. Every year we recognize our physicians and honor them and the work that they do for Doctors’ Day, which is on March 30 every year,” said Keith Nichols, CEO of Northwest Health - Starke.
Previously, Northwest Health - Starke has given its medical staff thoughtful gifts to show their appreciation for all they do. While the physicians have been incredibly grateful for this, they decided to go about things differently this year and chose to forgo the gifts. In its place, they wanted any contributions to go towards something that would make a significant, long-lasting, and positive impact on the community in which they work and live.
“This year, through some collaborative discussions, the topic of how we can give back was brought up,” said Nichols. “Within those discussions, we had asked the providers if a donation in the community would be something they'd be willing to support - to give back to the community where practice - and they were extremely happy with that. They thought it was an excellent idea.”
With the idea in motion, the next step was to find the perfect way to bring that plan into fruition.
“That's where the $1,500 donation came about, and then we had some discussions on what to do with that donation. We wanted to continue to support the hospital’s mission, which is helping people live healthier lives, and that's when the Parks and Recreation Department here in Knox was chosen,” said Nichols.
The City of Knox was incredibly thankful for the act of kindness from the Northwest Health - Starke team. The donation, in addition to serving the hospital’s mission, also allowed the parks department to further theirs as well. Together, the two were proud to collaborate to find new and creative ways to keep Knox active, mobile, and most importantly, healthy.
“It really does go hand-in-hand with what we're trying to accomplish with the parks and what they're trying to accomplish too,” said Knox Mayor Dennis Estok. “The park is all about activities to keep people moving, and it's about health. To me, it's really exciting that they did this for us. It sends a message out to the rest of the community that they're committed to the city.”
Estok is excited to see what new changes will come for the parks department with this generous donation. Whether it be equipment, programs, or anything in between, he only sees great things ahead for the parks in the city of Knox.
“It depends on the park board, and how they want to use this money. There are so many uses that they can use it for,” he said. “We’re still working on some other equipment to buy through various grants, and this could probably go for a match to that grant, or into that grant money or to develop other programs.”
Knox’s Director of Parks and Recreation Karl Swihart was excited to share his plans for the money received today. With the help of a few other grants, this money is expected to go towards dugout protective structures for t-ballers and younger kids, as well as a few other amenities.
“Those are the only two fields that don't have that,” he said. “We're also looking at purchasing three concrete game boards that will be located throughout the park where people can come out and play games and enjoy the park as well as some corn hole boards, two sets of concrete ones that are going around the party.”
This partnership has been extremely meaningful for both Northwest Health - Starke and the city. For Estok, it’s been heartwarming to see just how much local businesses are invested in their local communities and enjoy seeing them succeed.
“I really appreciate them stepping up to the plate, I really do,” Estok said. “We get a lot of the community invested in our parks and the city in general, and we get a lot of support, but I think a special part of seeing the hospital‘s donation is that they're showing that they care about the activities and the parks - they recognize how valuable it is.”
Northwest Health - Starke also has more plans in store to bring about community involvement and give back to those who matter most. In addition to monetary donations, Nichols noted that time, commitment, and support are some of the most important things anyone can offer. From free wellness seminars to helping healthcare students navigate their educational journeys, Northwest Health - Starke is always willing to lend a hand to anyone who may need that little bit of extra assistance to help reach all their healthcare goals.
In the meantime; however, helping the parks department was a great way to collaborate with the community, and Nichols hopes to work with local organizations on other projects tied to the hospital's mission.
“It's been fun making this happen, and hopefully we can continue to do this next year,” said Nichols.
For more information on Northwest Health - Starke, visit nwhealthstarke.com.