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A Tradition of Dedication — By Dale Myers

A tradition of Dedication
My first trip to Hazlehurst was a few days before Christmas, 1976. I checked into the Village Inn. It was the beginning of a chapter in my life that would last 14 years. I later moved to Hazlehurst with a new wife and started a family and calling this friendly community home came easy.
I had taken a position to work as a Respiratory Therapist at Jeff Davis Hospital. The staff welcomed me, and friendships were forged that last to this day.
Mr. Edwards the Administrator and Mrs. Jackie Fowler the Administrative Secretary made me feel at home and arranged for me to meet the two physicians.
Dr. Dan Elrod and Dr. Sydney Johnson met us in the conference room where we became acquainted and discussed the current needs in providing focused care for respiratory patients.
It was my fist assignment in a rural hospital. My training was in a 1,000-bed hospital in Orlando where access to every diagnostic piece of equipment was available. There were no limits to ancillary back up when needed for additional assistance. Dr. Elrod and Dr. Johnson demonstrated an amazing gift for diagnosing and treating patients with an expertise I had never encountered in Orlando. They had excellent skills. I observed many emergencies in the one room ER, they diagnosed and treated patients with expediency and were responsible for saving many lives at all hour’s day and night.
When I learned that both men had passed having served the community for many years to pause and appreciate the dedication and faithfulness, they demonstrated in providing care for the community.
I was fortunate to have worked with the excellent staff within the respiratory department who also worked endless hours. Many calls came at night and with amazing dedication to the community they provided care and compassion without hesitation. They taught me much about the benefits of living in a friendly community we all called home. I am grateful for their support they showed our family.
The community has grown since we left in 1990. New physicians and a new ER and expanded treatment rooms will guarantee the tradition of caring and serving the community will continue that started since the first days when the hospital opened. The Jeff Davis County Hospital Authority was established in 1959 because the community saw the need for a hospital in Jeff Davis County. Clyde Duncan Memorial Hospital opened August 8, 1963. The name was later changed to Jeff Davis Hospital.
My wife Susan Myers later joined the staff to provide anesthesia for surgical patients. We have so many wonderful memories of our time working and living in Hazlehurst. We will always call it home. Our prayers and thoughts are for all who miss Dr. Elrod and Dr. Johnson. We know they both would be proud of the excellent physicians, and ALL staff that continue to prove excellent care to the community.
Dale Myers

1 Comment

  1. Karon Swanger on September 17, 2022 at 7:31 am

    Loved this. Thank you for sending it to me. I have missed Dr. Elrod over the years and now I will miss Dr. Johnson. I was able to visit him this past year by going to his home to give him his Covid vaccines. He was still sharp. He would recall things that I thought he had forgotten. I’ll treasure these visits. Love you Dale and Susan.

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