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Phoebe employees celebrate

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

ALBANY -- On July 31, 1911, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital celebrated its grand opening. Amid the tours and the hoopla, 16-year-old Henrietta Beck was diagnosed with "abnormal teeth" and advised to return for surgery. It's unclear if it was ever performed.

Medical science -- and Phoebe -- have come a long way since.

Beginning at 10 a.m. at the HealthWorks, hospital employees were gathered together, 300 to 400 at a time, to celebrate the hospital's centennial.

During an address to Phoebe workers, CEO Joel Wernick said that only a few years ago many people would leave the area if they needed serious medical treatment.

"'Where are you going?' would be the question," Wernick said. "Now, if a person takes treatment somewhere else, the doctors there would ask 'Why are you here? You can have that treatment at Phoebe.'"

Employees were shown a film titled "Nothing But the Best," featuring Phoebe Putney Hospital, its history and advances throughout the years.

Following the film was a performance by Greg Risberg, a motivational speaker. According to Risberg, he offers his audience "useful ways" to improve communication, handle stress and increase humor in their lives. His animated, standup style of humor was well received by the Phoebe audience.

Every employee was given the opportunity to sign a scroll that will be placed in a time capsule commemorating Phoebe's 100th anniversary. The capsule will be filled with various items representing this era in Phoebe's history and buried on Nov. 9, said Lacy Lee, Centennial Committee co-chairperson. It will be re-opened in 50 years.

Earlier Monday morning, four original pen-and-ink drawings by Melissa Tubbs were unveiled. The drawings, commissioned by Phoebe, were of the original 1911 Phoebe building, the 2011 campus, the McCormack Fountain in front of the hospital entrance, and the Centennial sky bridge.

Later this week, parties will be conducted for Phoebe employees at medical centers in Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center (Cuthbert), Phoebe Worth (Sylvester), Dorminy Medical Center (Fitzgerald) and Phoebe Sumter (Americus).