Hospitals officials say donations in honor of lost loved ones will help see a chapel restored to Bothwell Regional Health Center.
The charitable gifts included significant donations from Connie McLaughlin, the Olen Howard Charitable Foundation and Janet Proctor. The space occupied by the previous chapel was made into a classroom following multiple hospital remodeling projects. Although donors requested the exact amount of donations not be made public, officials are calling the gift a “very significant gift.”
The new chapel will be called the Bill G. and Connie Spry McLaughlin Inter-Faith Chapel, and design work is already underway on the planned 190-square-foot room, which will feature soft lighting, natural wall and floor finishes and chairs with kneelers, according to BRHC spokeswoman Lisa Church.
McLaughlin told the Democrat on Monday she was moved to make her contribution to the project after learning the hospital no longer had a space for families to gather, pray and reflect during a family member’s health crisis.
“I remember back 45 years ago when our father, Earl Spry, was in Bothwell with lung cancer. My younger brother and I and our family would go down to the chapel. It had a lot of meaning to us. Other times we had family at the hospital that were very ill and the chapel was always someplace I appreciated being able to go,” McLaughlin said.
She also spent time in the chapel often during the illness of her late husband, Bill, a former funeral director for McLaughlin Brother’s Funeral Chapel, who died in June of last year after a lengthy battle with heart disease, stroke and cancer. She said her main motivation was to honor her husband’s name.
She said she hopes the new chapel can serve as a “place of solace” for those in need.
“Bill, being a funeral director at McLaughlin for 32 years, he was in and out of Bothwell many, many times so I wanted to do something to honor the kind of person he was,” she said. “I am very thankful that we have a good local hospital and I’m thankful to live in a country where we are allowed to have a chapel. That is important to me personally.”
BRHC officials expressed gratitude to McLaughlin and the other donors.
“The Inter-Faith Chapel will be a space for families to celebrate in times of joy, such as the birth of a child, or to seek solace in times of sorrow,” said Bothwell President and Chief Executive Officer John Dawes. “We are so grateful to these donors and to the many others who have supported this project.”
According to a hospital news release, the Howard Foundation supports many community projects and is named in honor of the late Olen Howard, who owned and operated Howard Quarries, Howard Farms and other business interests. The foundation is overseen by his daughters Darlene Bradbury and Shirley Rowden, both of Sedalia.
Proctor donated to the chapel to honor her husband Donald, who was a family physician and practiced medicine at the hospital for 37 years. Although he was retired at the time, he was the first physician appointed to the hospital’s Board of Trustees in 1994, the release states.
Donations can still be made for the chapel project by calling the BRHC Foundation at 826-6263, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or online at brhc.org — click on Giving, Make a Gift and then select the Inter-Faith Chapel.