In fact, things were going so well that in late 1946 and early 1947, discussion was held about the possibility of constructing a new hospital building. These plans were approved and the architectural firm of Wetherell and Harrison of Des Moines was retained in May of 1948. Several locations for the hospital were discussed, and in 1948 the present site of the hospital was purchased from Jerry and Floss Carrier for $5000. A fundraising campaign was held to raise funds for the new hospital. Board members at this time were Dr. G. R. Woodhouse, Lida Hall, Dr. L. W. Koontz, J. H. Milroy, Dr. E. V. Lovett, Dr. T. L. Chadbourne, and Mayor Gordon. Bids were received for the construction of the building on May 16, 1950. Pledges were solicited from community members for the new hospital building. Work was begun in early fall of 1950. Open house for the new facility was held on December 2, 1951, and patients were moved and admitted on the first of January of 1952. Additional land to the north of the hospital site was purchased for future use at a cost of $5000. The cost of the new building, plus equipment, was $384,323.84. The old hospital building was sold to the Lutheran Home for the Aged for a nursing home at a special meeting on October 17, 1951. The Lutheran Home used the building until 1977 when they
purchased land and moved in to a new facility across the street to the south.
Mrs. Nettie Burk retired as hospital administrator in April of 1956. She had served for 16 years and 5 months in this position. George Garwood was appointed Virginia Gay Hospital administrator April 15, 1956, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1982. During Mr. Garwood’s tenure as hospital administrator many improvements and changes were made. Much of the funding for these capital improvements were the result of Mr. Garwood’s fundraising efforts.
George Garwood had built philanthropic efforts supporting Virginia Gay Hospital. During his tenure, he developed lasting relationships with the Vinton community and surrounding areas which continue to impact the sustainability of VGH today. Ida Cordelia Beam grew up on a farm in Benton County. She was well educated, a teacher, and loved to travel. Ida Cordelia Beam Donated $10,000 to the establishment of a long-term care facility at Virginia Gay, the “Annex” and left a 77 acre farm at her passing in 1976 at the age of 92. The Fry family began farming in Benton County in the 1930s. George W. Fry’s son, J. W. Fry, was a bookkeeper at Farmers National Bank in Vinton, owned a Buick-Chevrolet dealership and managed 2 farms comprising of 675 acres. At J. W. Fry passing in 1968, he left the 2 farms to Virginia Gay Hospital. The ascendents and family of Vernon Flechner came from Germany in 1873, having 7 children and farming 537 acres. None of the children married, one of the family members was cared for at the Virginia Gay long-term care facility. Vernon Flechner passed in 1982 and left the family farm to Virginia Gay Hospital. The Flechner and Fry farms are currently managed by the VGH Farm Trustees. John Ketchen, Warren Gulick, Dan Van Steenhuyse, Dean Schminke, Kyle Schminke, Marty Ternus and Pete Burmeister have served as trustees over the years. Virginia Gay Hospital and Clinics are a direct beneficiary of the farms which continue to support innovation, expansion and quality healthcare in the community.
His efforts preceded the establishment of the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation, which was incorporated in 1991, and helped people realize the need for effective, ongoing fundraising to support the hospital and clinics and the level of health care that they provided. The mission statement of the Foundation says it exists for “the continuation of health and medical care to people of the Virginia Gay Hospital service area. Our concern for humanity is demonstrated by a commitment to obtain and distribute funds through the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation that will promote, maintain and restore the health of the individuals it serves. The Foundation acquires and administers charitable gifts for the benefit of Virginia Gay Hospital & Clinics. It is governed by a Board of Directors. The Foundation uses the funds it raises and receives to purchase state-of-the-art equipment, enhance facilities, and develop special programs to help VGH and Clinics remain in the forefront of medical care. The goal of the Foundation is to help bring an ever-increasing quality of health care to our communities. Virginia Gay Hospital is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization”. The first Foundation chairman was local attorney, Mr. Keith Mossman. He served as chair from the time it was established until his passing in the summer of 2010. Mrs. La Teresa Music was the Director of the Foundation from its beginning until the summer of 2010. Mike Timmermans served as Foundation Director from 2010 to 2016. The Foundation led the capital campaigns of 1994 and 2008 as well as being involved in many other fundraising activities which have raised millions of dollars for the benefit of the hospital and clinics. Ruth Mayhew, Administrative Assistant to CEO Mike Riege until her retirement in 1999, presented the idea of Tree of Lights in 1992. This annual campaign continues to support the needs of the hospital providing highly innovative equipment and services and the ability to commemorate loved ones. Kim Frank, Human Resources Director from 1998 to 2021 created and organized the Annual Tree Walk beginning in 2008. Her passion shows in this event which has become the highlight of the holiday season offering uniquely decorated trees and holiday decor for silent auction and raising thousands of dollars supporting the Annual Tree of Lights campaign.
In 1960 plans were formulated to build a long-term care facility adjoining the present hospital to the south. Kenneth Feller and Karl
Fischer were appointed to co-chair the fund drive for the long-term care facility. At a special meeting on June 6, 1961, the motion was approved for a construction fund of $483,000 for the construction of this facility, $161,000 of which would be Hill-Burton funds from the federal government. Work was begun on the long-term care facility in 1961.
This facility was opened on September 2, 1962. In addition to the Hill-Burton funds, $100,000 of the Dr. C. C. Griffin Trust was designated to be used for this construction. Funds were donated from various other trusts willed to the hospital, $152,800 was loaned to the hospital from 103 Vinton community people, and gifts of $13,107 were received.
In February of 1965, it was felt the Board room should be converted into an area for the care of five geriatric patients. In April of 1965, twelve patients were housed in the room then used for occupational therapy. Patients were moved out of the basement in December of 1967. In 1968, a $10,000 donation from Alice Smith supported a new Intensive Care Suite in the hospital. Discussion began in December of 1967 regarding an addition to the long-term care facility. This addition was proposed to be added to the west wing of the facility and would include the addition of ten beds. This addition was approved and the $75,000 addition was opened in August of 1969.