Beebe Medical Foundation, the fundraising arm for Beebe Healthcare, kicked off a year of festivities Feb. 25 in celebration of its 25th anniversary.
Board members of the foundation and of Beebe Healthcare joined Judy Aliquo, president and CEO of the foundation, and Jeffrey M. Fried, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare, and members of the foundation’s board of ambassadors to mark the official beginning of a milestone year.
“Beebe is fortunate to be a part of this generous and supportive community that has allowed it to grow and thrive so that now it is well positioned for the future,” Fried said. “We are just two years away from celebrating our 100th anniversary. What is so special about Beebe is that it started as a family business, and the culture of caring, compassion, and respect that existed then continues today. At the same time, our dedicated team members and doctors have brought the latest technologies and treatment modalities to our community, which would make Drs. James and Richard Beebe very proud of what their original two-room hospital has become.”
Anna Beebe Moore, 94, daughter of Beebe cofounder Richard C. Beebe, MD, attended the event with her son Alex Moore and grandson Chase Moore. In 1916, Dr. Richard C. Beebe founded the first private community hospital in Sussex County with his brother James Beebe, MD. At the time, the hospital had two patient rooms and an operating room and was attached to the brothers’ Lewes office. Today, Beebe Healthcare has a presence in six other Sussex County communities, as well as a hospital in Lewes, and the foundation is located in the charming, traditional-style home Dr. Richard C. Beebe built near the original hospital.
“It is amazing to me what Beebe has become,” said Mrs. Moore, who still lives locally. She recalled that her father and uncle talked about creating a hospital in Lewes based on the Mayo Clinic plan. Both doctors had earned their degrees at Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pa., and returned to Lewes, often bringing other physicians to treat patients at the hospital. They also had a house on Rehoboth Avenue where they treated patients during the summer season.
“This anniversary year is a wonderful opportunity for us to highlight the great work of the foundation and the philanthropic support of so many people over the past 25 years,” Aliquo said. “It also gives us the opportunity to invite people to visit the foundation home, hear about the latest news about Beebe Healthcare, meet Mr. Fried, our president and CEO, and learn about ways they can share their time, talents and treasures to help us further Beebe’s vision of making Sussex County one of the healthiest counties in the nation.”
Beebe Healthcare, as a community-owned, not-for-profit hospital, continues to be dependent on the generous support of individuals, corporations, businesses and private foundations. A board of directors, composed of local area leaders and physicians, sets the direction of the Beebe Healthcare system. All gifts are channeled through the Beebe Medical Foundation.
State Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, while attending the event, presented Aliquo with a tribute to the foundation from the state General Assembly. He noted that Sen. Gary Simpson, R-Milford, an avid supporter of Beebe, helped obtain the Tribute.
At the end of the evening, invited guests had some extra fun with a raffle and received several door prizes. The top prize was an autographed copy of the illustrated biography and oral history titled, "Gene Bookhammer and His World: The Life and Times of Lewes’ Elder Statesman." Written by Delaware historian Richard Carter, this nonfiction work describes the life of Delaware leader and entrepreneur the Hon. Eugene D. Bookhammer, who was so integral to the growth of Beebe Healthcare. He spent years helping raise money for Beebe, and served on the Beebe Board of Directors for almost 50 years. He died in 2013. He was a close friend of James Beebe Jr., the son of cofounder Dr. James Beebe. Dr. James Beebe Jr. died in 2012. One of Bookhammer’s projects was the relocation of Dr. Richard C. Beebe’s house to its new place, 902 Savannah Road, where the foundation is now.
“We are grateful to the community for its generosity over the years, and look forward to continuing to work together to provide excellent healthcare services,” Aliquo said.
Fried also introduced Paul H. Mylander, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors, to those attending, and acknowledged his leadership in the raising of $12.5 million in the Vision 2005 Capital Campaign, a campaign record for Beebe.
Through the generosity of donors, the foundation has been able to help fund several construction projects, such as expansions of the hospital and the construction of the two buildings at the Beebe Healthcare campus on Route 24 in Rehoboth Beach that includes the Robert W. & Eolyne K. Tunnell Cancer Center, the Eugene D. & Catherine Bookhammer Outpatient Center and the Norman B. & Helen Baylis Rehabilitation Center. Funds raised by the foundation and its supporters have paid for needed medical equipment, such as a linear accelerator that delivers radiation to cancer patients, imaging technologies, and equipment to help newborn babies and orthopaedic patients recovering from surgery. Today, these funds are helping pay for the expansion and new construction of the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing, expected to be completed in early 2015.
As part of this year’s festivities, the foundation will invite 25 people on or near the 25th of each month to thank them for their support. Those who would like to be invited should contact the foundation at 302-644-2900.
“We want to celebrate our rich heritage, share with them the exciting growth and plans for our future and encourage them to actively participate in our events, appeals and countless giving opportunities, especially our Annual Appeal,” said Tom Protack, who recently was named the foundation’s director of development. “We need a solid foundation of a strong annual giving appeal to address the countless needs that are a result of the wonderful growth of Beebe Healthcare. We want everyone to know they can support Beebe Healthcare with a contribution and channel it to whatever area they like to support: Women’s Health, Tunnell Cancer Center, Nursing School, etc.”
As Beebe prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2016, the foundation will encourage supporters to become members of the new 1916 Club, a name that highlights the year the hospital was founded. 1916 Club members will be asked to contribute $1,916 annually to the foundation. As part of their participation, they will breakfast with Beebe leadership, take a private tour of the hospital, be recognized on the Wall of Honor at the medical center in Lewes, and receive 1916 promotional materials.
“This is an exciting time for the foundation and for Beebe Healthcare; we anticipate an increase of participation in all our events, especially the art auction, which will also celebrate its 25th anniversary on June 14. Over the past 25 years, the Annual Best of the Beach Art Auction has raised close to $2 million for Beebe Healthcare; this year we hope to raise over $100,000 for a state-of-the-art simulation mannequin to advance the training and experience of our medical teams,” Protack said.
“I am looking forward to the 100th anniversary celebration,” Mrs. Moore said. “I want to be here, and I want all my family to come and celebrate.”
Mrs. Moore, who goes out for coffee every morning at her favorite Rehoboth Beach café, recalled that her father built the house in which the foundation now stands in 1941. It was the first new house her mother Edna Thomson Beebe, who was 50 years old at the time, had ever had, and she loved it. Mrs. Moore enjoyed her own wedding reception in the home.
“I have such wonderful friends and family here,” Mrs. Moore said.
Beebe Medical Foundation was established in 1989 with the sole mission to raise philanthropic support for Beebe Medical Center. The foundation is located at 902 Savannah Road, Lewes. Visit www.beebefoundation.org.