In 1949, a small group of committed citizens had the vision and the wherewithal to build a hospital in Ringgold County, and raised $26,453 in just two weeks. Exceeding the original goal of $21,000, the fundraising proved to the hospitals’ Board of Trustees that the people were sincere and enthusiastic in their determination to provide hospital facilities in the county.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
In April 1951, their dream became a reality when Ringgold County Hospital was completed and opened its doors for the first time with 21 employees. The timing was excellent, as seven babies, one girl and six boys, were born in the first week of operation. The first adult patient arrived via the Emergency Room and received a “five-dollar bouquet” presented by the Mount Ayr Post Office. The cash was courtesy of Rhodes Funeral Home which had promised the award to the first hospital patient.
Much has changed over 70 years. The hospital facility itself was expanded and renovated multiple times to accommodate new technology and new services. Under the leadership of CEO Gordon Winkler, the current hospital was completed in 2009. The state-of-the-art facility was designed to accommodate departments ranging from physical therapy to medical imaging, visiting physician’s clinics, a lab and pharmacy. The Mount Ayr Medical Clinic is now located within the hospital, allowing clinic patients easy access to all hospital services.
The committed team of medical professionals keeps up to date with today’s technologies, from 3-D imaging to electronic medical records. But the hands-on commitment to quality care for all patients is the same as it was in 1951. Ringgold County Hospital may not have changed the entire world, but it certainly has had a positive impact on the residents of southwest Iowa for the past 70 years.