Hope and Inspiration

Rob Funderburg speaking.

On March 11, 2021, NCH marked the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic by hosting a commemoration event and a dedication of the newly installed Healthcare Heroes Courtyard and fountain in front of the main lobby of the NCH Baker Downtown Hospital.

During the commemoration event, NCH President & CEO Paul Hiltz and Naples Mayor Teresa Heitmann recognized frontline healthcare professionals and the remarkable and courageous efforts undertaken to keep our community safe.

“Despite the thousands of patients and caregiver interactions throughout the pandemic, only two NCH employees contracted COVID-19 from patient exposure and no patient to patient exposure occurred.” Hiltz said. He also noted that since the onset of the pandemic, NCH has discharged more than 2,200 COVID-19 patients safely back to their homes.

NCH Director of Spiritual Care, Rev. Jennie Thomas, delivered a beautiful invocation and rang a bell 157 times – once for each individual who passed away from COVID-19 at NCH.

Community contributions near $2 million for COVID-19 response

NCH Senior Vice President Jim Mahon thanked the community for their generous support of NCH and NCH team members, noting that over the past year, more than 38,850 meals have been donated to frontline healthcare staff. In addition, generous community members donated a total of $1.89 million dollars for PPE, ventilators, vaccine freezers, as well as other needed supplies and received enough donations to purchase seven Xenex germ-zapping robots and five Advanced Ultra-Violet System UV Boxes, which help to keep all NCH facilities consistently clean and sanitized.

The Funderburgs with healthcare team and mayor.

Philanthropists dedicate Healthcare Heroes Courtyard

The anniversary commemoration provided an extraordinarily meaningful context for the unveiling of the Healthcare Heroes Courtyard, a new space created at the front of NCH’s flagship hospital in downtown Naples. Last fall, when community members Rob and Cathy Funderburg learned about the opportunity to fund a new fountain as part of a beautification project at the downtown front entrance, they immediately said yes – with one stipulation: they wanted the fountain to be dedicated to healthcare professionals, whom we all have come to appreciate so much more during this pandemic.

The Funderburgs’ inspired vision now lives on in this gorgeous and peaceful sitting area that serves as a place of honor for our healthcare heroes and offers a place of respite for the loved ones of our patients and our staff.

Heroes to healthcare heroes recognized

Four benches in the Healthcare Heroes Courtyard recognize special donors who have made significant financial gifts in support of NCH healthcare professionals over the years. These donors have generously funded nursing and clinical education and scholarships, helping our team members advance their careers in meaningful ways for them, NCH and our community. These special donors are: John and Connie Rakoske, Fritz and Kathy Friday, Bill and Penny Allyn and The Wildflower Foundation.

To learn more about meaningful ways to support NCH Healthcare System and our healthcare heroes, contact the Center for Philanthropy at 239-624-2000 or philanthropy@nchmd.org.

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