On Monday, May 19, I had the great honor and pleasure to be among local, state and federal officials at the opening of the National Mobile Disaster Hospital in Louisville, Miss. It will be used to temporarily replace the Winston Medical Center which was heavily damaged during the April 28 tornado outbreak.
This is the first time the National Mobile Disaster Hospital will be used as a fully operational hospital.
Leading up to this milestone, local, state and federal partners have faced extraordinarily complex and challenging issues and through the collaborative teamwork of all stakeholders, we have moved forward to work through problems and arrive at solutions that benefit all residents of Winston County.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate led the opening ceremony, along with Louisville Mayor Will Hill, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Chief of Staff Bill Brown and Mississippi State Department of Health State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier.
Speaking to the news media and the public about the importance of local healthcare and the federal government’s role in whole community recovery, Governor Bryant crystalized the local impact saying “this is a sign post on the road to recovery that says, ‘Hospital is open.’ It means so much because we would have lost every doctor and every nurse.”
Winston County now has a fully operational temporary hospital, complete with a 5-bed emergency department, 10-bed acute care module, along with typical services found in a hospital environment including an X-ray unit, inpatient pharmacy, and a clinical lab.
Administrator Fugate said “Recovering from disasters takes a team effort. Today’s event is an important step in reviving local services in Louisville. Together, we continue the hard work of supporting the community to get back on its feet.”
As I listened to each speaker, I was overwhelmed by the heartfelt words and expressions of thanks to the big team effort expressed to local, state, federal, private sector and volunteer partners who worked together overcoming many obstacles to get the hospital transported, inventoried, assembled and opened within three weeks of the April 28 tornadoes.
Mayor Will Hill said it best, “For the idea to have a temporary hospital three weeks ago, to be a reality in less than three weeks, I really didn’t even think it was possible. But it’s just great to get our employees back to work.”
I am proud of the collective effort put forth by everyone assisting in getting this temporary hospital assembled and operational. It is great to see cooperation among all our recovery partners who worked together to overcome many challenges. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the state of Mississippi and residents in Winston County for allowing me to share in your celebration of the newly opened temporary Winston Medical Center. I assure you that your federal partners will support you throughout the recovery process.