Thomas N. Told: 1A and 3A support vital to future economy

— I have spent nearly my entire medical career practicing in Craig and The Memorial Hospital. It has been a rewarding experience to see the medical community grow. Today, we have one of the finest group of physicians and staff serving at our hospital that I have seen in my 34 years of working there. These people have a great team spirit and tremendous drive to deliver the best care to the patients. We are destined to be one of the top 100 hospitals, and we are working hard for that goal, but it requires everyone's help.

A few years ago, one of our county commissioners told me that in order to see growth in the county we had to have strong schools, good recreation facilities and, above all, an excellent health care system. These past two years have taken me from border to border as well as to other countries to talk with thousands of physicians and hundreds of health care executives, and I saw that the commissioner's observation was very true.

Communities with strong health care infrastructures had healthy economies that resulted in growth. Strong education systems attracted and held the younger people to the community, infusing new into it. Industry used the presence of a strong health care system, and healthy schools as a major factor in selection of new locations for their business. These companies infused newfound wealth to many struggling communities.

By contrast, communities where hospitals and schools died the community soon began to die right along with them. Younger people left to find employment elsewhere and industry dwindled. The elderly were left to support the infrastructure and services soon dried up.

It is vital to our future economy that we support ballot issues 1A and 3A this November. Many worry the money will be diverted elsewhere or the levy will never be lifted. I had some of those concerns, but I got involved and am now satisfied that all the money will be used to construct the new facility and used nowhere else, and that the levy will be lifted when the debt is paid.

The project has been much better planned and executed than previous attempts. I am also satisfied as a citizen and stakeholder in this effort that the process has been very transparent from the beginning and physician and public input has been welcomed. A new hospital is seen by the entire medical staff as key to the recruitment and retention of new medical talent and services to our community.

We cannot afford to put this off any longer, and that is why I urge all of you to vote yes with me on 1A and 3A this November.

Thomas N. Told

Craig Medical Center

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