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Seniors say goodbye to friend from hospital

Seniors at the Fayette Senior Center eat their last free luncheon from Fayette Regional Health System Tuesday.

By LEANA CHOATE - lchoate@newsexaminer.com

Seniors said goodbye to a friend from Fayette Regional Health System on Tuesday.

Monthly for the past several years, Renee Nesbitt, community outreach coordinator at Fayette Regional, has brought free lunch and educational programs to the Fayette Senior Center. Nesbitt presented information about programs of interest to older people and educated them about their health.

“This will be the last hospital luncheon that we’re having,” Ginger Scholl, the senior center’s activities coordinator, said. “At the moment we don’t know what will happen once the transition between Fayette and Reid occurs. I’m proud to be her friend. She’s like a breath of fresh air to me. We want to thank her for her generosity, the time she’s spent here and the support she’s given us.”

Reid Health has agreed to purchase most of Fayette Regional’s assets. The future of some Fayette Regional programs is undecided, although Reid has repeatedly said it wants to continue being involved in the community.

Over the years, Nesbitt said she had become attached to the senior center and the members, saying she would miss the friendships she made over the years.

“I’m absolutely sad,” Nesbitt said. “You become attached, you make friendships with these people, you make friends. I’m going to miss all their smiling faces.”

Many seniors said their thanks for everything she has done for them.

“It’s very sad,” Mildred Bunyard, a volunteer at the senior center, said.

Joan Keller, a member at the center, agreed, saying, “I’m very thankful for everything that they (Fayette Regional) has done for me. They have excellent care.”

Gertrud Whitaker, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce executive director, came to the senior center to give a speech to the seniors about Fayette Regional to settle any uneasiness they may have felt.

“We don’t want this to be a sad occasion, but we do want to recognize that for many years, Fayette Regional Health System has been a big provider in this community of our health, our welfare,” Whitaker said. “and more specifically here in Fayette County with our senior center. We so much appreciate Renee (Nesbitt), the work and representation you have provided for Fayette Regional Health center.”

“I want us to look forward,” Whitaker said. “That there is something else coming. We’re just waiting as far as the signing of the contract and the approval by the federal court with Reid Health and the purchase of Fayette Regional. So, this is not an ending for anything, we certainly are looking at this as a transition. Let’s keep our chin up; there are good things coming.”

In a statement made last week about another program that seems to confirm Whitaker’s comments, Reid Health said, “We are deeply committed to increasing Reid Health’s presence in the Connersville community through events, sponsorships and programs that focus on the health and well-being of residents. We have begun to explore the options and some details of what our work on these fronts will include and will have much more to share on this front in the coming weeks and months.”