For generations, Americans have sought the slower pace of life that people in the Lake Country enjoy the most. Newcomers and natives alike are willing to sacrifice a few big-city luxuries — as well as honking horns, a sea of headlights, and the hazy city skyglow — in exchange for the breeze whispering through the pines or rippling across the lake. But whether they live in Reynolds, downtown Greensboro, or further out in the country, one thing they don't have to sacrifice is top-notch healthcare.

Greene and Putnam Counties' history of quality medical care starts in 1949 when the Minnie G. Boswell Memorial Hospital was founded in Greensboro as the first hospital built under the Hill-Burton Act, ratified to improve rural healthcare. Seeing an opportunity to expand services available to the area, in 2012 Athens-based St. Mary's Healthcare System, a member of Trinity Health, acquired the facility — then known as Saint Joseph at East Georgia Hospital — and rechristened in St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital.

St. Mary's immediately began drafting plans for state-of-the-art facility. Fundraising efforts became a community affair, and a team of 20 people, including 15 Reynolds Members, came together to form a fundraising committee. Among those originally involved was Becky Smith.

Smith, who has lived at Reynolds since 2006, was already serving the Greene County Food Pantry when she was invited to join the original Good Samaritan fundraising committee in 2012. Excited to see specialty care become more accessible to the community, she joined the team.

"Giving back feels so good," says Smith. "Playing golf, exercising, and boating are all fun, but doing something to make the community better is so rewarding."

The grassroots campaign was a success, raising over $8 million toward the new hospital thanks to the committee's work and the generosity of Reynolds Members, including that of Richard and Wendy O'Toole.

Like so many others, the O'Tooles moved to Reynolds for the golf but stayed for the people, turning their weekend golf getaway into their full-time residence after only four months. They quickly saw the need for better medical care in the area and were eager to contribute to the fundraising efforts.

"I was happy to lend my support to building the hospital," says Richard. "To this day it gives me great satisfaction to see how important Good Samaritan has become to the life and growth of this community."

On November 25th, 2013, the new hospital opened its doors. Built in an inviting chalet style, St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital is a 25-bed, acute-care, critical-access facility serving Greensboro and the Greater Greene County area. Accredited by the Joint Commission, the hospital provides inpatient care, 24-hour emergency care, surgical services, and more. Outpatient resources include rehabilitation, imaging services (including 3D mammography), and a clinical laboratory.

Following the initial fundraising success, in 2016 St. Mary's Health Care System established the St. Mary's Good Samaritan Foundation. Led by a board of community members — including Becky Smith, now the current Vice-Chairman — the Foundation's mission is to improve and enhance services provided by the hospital and ensure those services are available to those who need them most.

"The St. Mary's Good Samaritan Foundation Board members are dedicated and passionate about their community," says St. Mary's Foundation Director Ansley Martin. "They are amazing cheerleaders and advocates who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do what is needed to support their hospital."

Along with seeking individual gifts, the Foundation holds two signature fundraising events, the Heart and South Gala and the Fashion Show, which alternate by year and generate tremendous support in the community. The Foundation is in the midst of its second capital campaign, raising $3 million to fund imaging diagnostic equipment, including a state-of-the-art CT Scan System and MRI System.

The "Expanding Technology, Elevating Care" campaign kicked off in September 2019. The Foundation Board members embraces this amazing opportunity to procure the advanced technology, to be specifically utilized for cardiovascular health, which ranked number one in the 2019 St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital's Community Health Needs Assessment for Greene, Putnam, Hancock, Morgan, and Taliaferro service areas.

The capital campaign will allow St. Mary's Good Samaritan Hospital to upgrade its technology to a level rarely seen in the state, especially in a critical-access hospital. The new equipment will vastly improve the ability to diagnose and treat patients less invasively and more efficiently. The new imaging system will allow the medical team to diagnose strokes, traumatic injuries, or causes of abdominal and chest pain. Most importantly, the advanced technology will allow more patients to remain local, versus being transferred to Athens, Atlanta, or Augusta for higher level of care needs.

The Foundation is currently in the "home stretch" of the campaign, and is eager to see the growth and partnership between the hospital and local residents that this technology will bring.

"The board wants the community to be proud of their hospital," says Smith. "Two million dollars were collected at the beginning of this year. We are excited to collect the last million to reach our goal and celebrate the extended services the hospital can provide to the area."

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