Tom and Mary Jane Deets: Ambassadors advocate for Beebe Healthcare

The members of the Beebe Medical Foundation Board of Ambassadors recently attended their annual meeting. Pictured in back (l-r) are William Wagamon, Charles Landon, Keith Parsell, Janice Erich, Joseph Pipitone, Dennis Chupella, Bradley Travis Jr., Jane Casazza, Drexel Davison, Alexander Martin Clark, Joseph Gonzalez and Bruce Moore; middle row,  R. Alexander Moore, Tom Deets, Mary Jane Deets, Shelly Kennedy, Kathy Newcomb, Rob White, Allyn Wagamon, Dr. Ramachandra Hosmane, Denise Poslusny, Carol Leashefski, Earl Schmidt and Ron Young. In front are James Biever; Benedette Cooper; Jeffrey Fried, FACHE, president/CEO  Beebe Healthcare; Judy Aliquo, president/CEO Beebe Foundation, Lacy Letonoff, ambassador chair; Thomas Protack, director of development; Christine Moore; and Deirdre O’Shea McCartney. SOURCE SUBMITTED
June 29, 2014

Tom and Mary Jane Deets retired to the Delaware beach area from Bucks County, Pa. Once here, their goals included volunteering and supporting organizations that help people.

“We became acquainted with the hospital and liked what we saw,” Mary Jane Deets recalled. “We value a strong community hospital.”

This year, they were asked to serve on the Beebe Medical Foundation’s Board of Ambassadors, an organization of people who actively support and advocate for Beebe Healthcare. The ambassadors are donors and fundraisers. They attend Beebe events and go out into the community to tell people about Beebe services and to learn about what more is needed. They encourage people to support Beebe through attending events, volunteering, and through philanthropic giving.

“The Board of Ambassadors is a nice extension of our interests in healthcare,” Mary Jane Deets said. She is retired from a career in drug development, and Tom is a pharmacist. They know the importance of prevention and about getting good medical care when it is needed.

“Generally, most people are unfamiliar with a local medical center unless they need to go there,” says Tom Protack, director of development. “The ambassadors help us make sure that people are familiar with Beebe and how they can support it so that our community has the quality of healthcare services that we all want and need.”

Martin Clark has been a member of the Board of Ambassadors for two years. He retired to Rehoboth Beach after moving from Washington, D.C., in 2006.

“I believe it is important to support our community medical institution,” he says, and and he does. Clark attends many Beebe events and likes to talk to people about the services that Beebe provides.

Brad Travis Jr., a fourth-generation Lewes native, joined the Board of Ambassadors this year.

“My first job out of college was at Beebe,” he said, recalling the number-crunching position he had early in his career. Today, he is a financial advisor with PNC Investments. “My dad works in IS at Beebe and I know a lot of people there. I think it is a top-notch medical facility, and I want people to know that.”

Beebe is steeped in local history. It was founded in 1916 by two brothers who were physicians, James Beebe, MD and Richard C. Beebe. Both had been raised in Lewes and understood the importance of providing medical care to their community. Both attended Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and earned their medical degrees. They founded the first private hospital in Sussex County. It was an addition to their office in Lewes and had two patient rooms, three beds and an operating room. The doctors were innovative and forward thinking. Even in those days, they brought specialists from metropolitan areas to treat local patients.

No longer owned by the family, Beebe Healthcare is a community-owned, not-for-profit organization. A board of directors, composed of local area leaders and physicians, sets the direction of the Beebe Healthcare system. It continues to be dependent on the generous support of individuals, corporations, businesses and private foundations. All gifts are channeled through the Beebe Medical Foundation.

In honor of Beebe’s upcoming 100th anniversary, the Beebe Medical Foundation this year has established a new giving circle called the 1916 Club.

Members of the 1916 Club pledge $1,916 a year to the foundation in support of growing medical services. Board of Ambassadors members are encouraging people to join.

“We applaud all that our ambassadors do to help make Sussex County a better and healthier place to live, to work and to visit,” says Judy Aliquo, CFRE, president and CEO of the foundation.

Beebe Medical Foundation was established in 1989 with the sole mission to raise philanthropic support for Beebe Medical Center. For more information go to