Talk Of The Town

SJHTop photo: HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital Breese's new Outpatient Surgery Center was designed to increase efficiency and patient privacy in a beautiful environment. The Outpatient Surgery expansion is expected to be opened in December 2017. Bottom photo: The Most Reverend Stanley Schlarman, DD, Diocese of Belleville (right), was the celebrant at the blessing and dedication of the new Outpatient Surgery Center at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese on Nov. 9. Also pictured are Deacon Linus Klostermann (center), St. Joseph's Spiritual Care minister, and Chris Klay, hospital president and CEO.    HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese ceremonially unveiled their new Outpatient Surgery Center on Nov. 9 with a blessing and dedication Mass led by the Most Reverend Stanley Schlarman, DD, Diocese of Belleville.
    The new Outpatient Surgery Center was designed to increase efficiency and patient privacy in a beautiful environment. The $9.4 million expansion includes a 13,880-sq.-ft. addition to house 22 ambulatory surgery prep/recovery rooms, including four infusion rooms, support space, consultation rooms, waiting areas, and a new ambulance garage. The building also will have a new discharge exit with an overhang and a circle drive, so patients will not need to travel through the hospital after having surgery. The project also includes renovation of existing hospital departments including Emergency and Surgical Services. The Outpatient Surgery expansion is expected to be opened in December 2017.
    In his welcoming remarks at the blessing and dedication, Chris Klay, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital president and CEO, shared, “This new addition supports St. Joseph’s Hospital’s commitment to providing exceptional care to Clinton County. The design of our new Outpatient Surgery Center will promote operational efficiency and offer a beautiful environment supporting patient privacy,” he said.
    Klay thanked a number of individuals and organizations who supported St. Joseph’s Hospital in the development of this project. On behalf of the hospital board of directors, colleagues and physicians, he expressed his gratitude to his predecessor, Paulette Evans, for her hard work and efforts in the planning and launch of this new facility. He also shared his appreciation to the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis and Hospital Sisters Ministries for their support, along with the leaders of Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) and the HSHS Southern Illinois Division. Klay also acknowledged members of the St. Joseph’s Hospital board of directors for their support and encouragement throughout this project.
    Klay also shared his appreciation for the colleagues who work at St. Joseph’s Hospital, “While having an outstanding new facility to offer enhanced health care is nice, the compassionate care provided by our providers and colleagues truly creates an exceptional experience for all patients who come through our doors,” he said.
    St. Joseph’s Hospital also offered an opportunity for community members to tour the new Outpatient Surgery Center during a public open house on Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Approximately 200 area residents toured the new facility and were impressed by its beautiful design and the convenience it offers for those needing outpatient surgery.
    For more information about the surgical services offered by HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese, visit the hospital’s Website at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese is part of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System.

8872Lt. Col. Michael Schwan was the guest speaker for the veterans program    When Lt. Col. Michael Schwan was asked to speak at Saturday’s Clinton County Veterans Day Program in Breese, he said he was first “overwhelmed with pride and honor.” Yet, the Air Force veteran who serves as commander of  the 458th Airlift Squadron  at Scott Air Force Base and has led combat weather teams into Afghanistan and Iraq supporting the Army’s elite 82nd Airborne Division, admits those feelings were followed shortly by “immense fear.”
    “What was I going to say in front of the men and women who have sacrificed so much so that I could grow up free?” he asked. “The only thing I could think of was ‘thanks.’”
    Lt. Col. Schwan addressed a room full of veterans and family members as guest speaker of the countywide Veterans Day celebration held Saturday, Nov. 11 at the Breese American Legion.
    Schwan said he knew he was destined to join the military at a very young age.
    “My first love was the Navy,” he said. “I remember playing submarine as a child and all through high school my dream was to be a submariner.”
    He enlisted in the Navy at the young age of 17 under the delayed enlistment program. 
    “I was going to be a nuclear engineer on a fast attack submarine,” Schwan explained. “Yet before I could go to basic training, I received an Army ROTC scholarship and joined the Army Reserves.”
    During his second year in college, he decided to be a meteorologist, but soon learned that the Army doesn’t have weathermen. He joked that he “reluctantly” switched to the Air Force.
    “I’m one of the only people I know who has sworn oaths to three separate services. I like to joke ­— the Marines wouldn’t take me and I wasn’t smart enough to get into the Coast Guard.” 
    For two years, Schwan served as the 82nd Airborne Division’s weatherman when he took combat weather teams into Afghanistan in 2002 and served as part of the Iraq invasion.
    “Those two years were the best years of my career,” he said.
    Today, Schwan commands airmen flying operations in support of the office of the assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force. He also provides priority airlift for key federal officials, members of Congress, senior-ranking military members and Aeromedical Evacuation patients, 
    Schwan shared the head table with many distinguished guests. He offered special recognition to veteran Vince Rolves of Carlyle, who spent 18 months as a prisoner of war during World War II in Europe. Now 93, Rolves is the last surviving POW in Clinton County.
    Lt. Col. Schwan continued  his speech stating that he had three sincere “thank yous” to discuss.
    “I would like to thank each and every one of you for my freedom. It doesn’t matter if you served during a time of war or peace. Without your sacrifice, none of us would be here right now.” 
    Schwan continued, “During World War II you stood up to the greatest evil the world has ever seen, and against tremendous odds, you prevailed. In Korea, you stopped the spread of communism — again unprepared and against great adversity. Those serving in Vietnam answered the call to service, did what an unthankful country asked you to do, and conquered a tenacious enemy in an unforgiving environment. During the Cold War, the strength that you presented prevented the unthinkable. In Desert Storm, you proved America’s might to the world. Those who have served after 9/11 have kept the terrorists at bay, and I proudly call you my brothers and sisters.”
    Lt. Col. Schwan said his second thanks to the veterans was for establishing the foundation of this country’s military force.
    “Through the traditions you created and the professionalism you demanded, we are the greatest military force on earth,” he said. “I pledge to you that I will do my best to continue those traditions and continue to accept nothing less than professional behavior to ensure we remain the greatest military on earth. You have made sure our forces are the envy of every country ...  and I will make sure we stay that way.”
    Set aside as a day to honor and remember all of our area veterans, the countywide celebration — hosted by Breese American Legion Timmermann-Benhoff Post 252 — included a church service, program, dinner, parade and music. The program started with the presentation of Colors by the Breese Honor Guard. Eileen Huelsmann, 23rd District Commander, led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Also offering comments on Saturday were Breese Mayor Charlie Hilmes, Breese American Legion Commander Jeff Jung, master of ceremonies Dave Grapperhaus and Deacon Linus Klostermann of St. Dominic Parish in Breese.
    As part of the invocation, Deacon Klostermann expressed the importance of honoring those who have served.
    “We need to be constantly reminded of our gifts of freedom, and those who gave all for our freedom. Our children must know who they are, what they did and why they did it.”
    Mayor Hilmes said that when he was growing up in Breese in the late 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, there was a lot of progress happening in Breese. 
    “When stuff was going on around town, there were always volunteers who got things done,” Hilmes said. “These volunteers were veterans. It was the hard work and sacrifice of veterans that made this town and other small towns in this county what they are today.” 
    In his final comments, Lt. Col. Schwan offered his thanks to the crowd of veterans and their families for their “unwavering support.”
    “Our citizens lost their way during Vietnam and our heroes who sacrificed everything for our country were treated horrifically when they returned with honor,” Schwan said. 
    “Even after 16 years at war, every time I have returned, I return to crowds of Americans standing in ovation, presenting us with gifts and flowers. Let me be very clear:  it is because of great Americans like you ­ — who write letters, send care packages, wait at airports in the middle of the night for our return — that makes serving an honor and privilege. It is because of you, I am willing to make the greatest sacrifice to ensure America remains free.
    “God bless you and God bless America!”

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