The Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the new health complex began as advertised at 3:30 p.m. on February 28, and the event, guided by Rosie Smith, progressed from beginning to end without a flaw.
Head Chaplain Kevin Yoder opened with the invocation in front of a large crowd of hospital officials, staff, and interested spectators who came to see the newest addition to Jackson Hospital.
The new interim CEO Jim Platt welcomed onlookers and praised the innovative facility that offers wound healing and hyperbaric treatments.
And the event was a homecoming for two key people in this endeavor. Margaret Watkins, MS, RN, is Director and is remembered as “Dr. Breland’s daughter”. Also returning home is Dr. Richard G. Brunner, MD, whose father was a physician and surgeon, also in Marianna. Dr. Brunner is the Medical Director for the healthcare services housed on U. S. 90.
In a recent interview with the TIMES about returning to Marianna as the Director, “This project is a big outreach to the community,” Watkins said. “We did our homework and determined the needs of our community, not the needs of Tallahassee, Dothan or Panama City.” Watkins applied for the job from her former position with Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, where she worked for the past nine years. “We had wanted to move back to the Marianna area for some time,” she said. Her husband is engineer Gordon Watkins. “I remember working as a candy striper for Jackson Hospital when I was in Marianna High School. We were looking to retire here but now I have this great opportunity to give back and help the community like my father did. It’s good to be back home.” Dr. Jabe Armistead Breland practiced family medicine from 1950 to 1999.
Margaret earned her undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She received a master’s degree of nursing, specializing in leadership and management, from Walden University.
After the official ribbon cutting, which was led by Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director, tours of the new centers began, with staff standing by to answer questions and to show off Jackson Hospital’s newest services.