For more than seven years, Craig resident Melton Sullivan has spent countless hours at The Memorial Hospital board meetings.
He chaired committees and paced the floor at night with worry about issues larger than he could have imagined.
“When I first got there, it all seemed so large to me and almost so unmanageable,” Sullivan said. “As an institution, (TMH was) somewhat stagnant. It was hard to strategically plan, hard to market.
“But a lot of that has changed, and I had a little bit of a part in those changes. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that.”
Sullivan resigned from the TMH board April 6.
The Moffat County Commis-
sion is soliciting letters of interest from community members interested in filling the seat. The term expires in 2013.
The county is asking for letters by May 3.
Sullivan said his reasons for leaving are largely personal.
“I never wanted to be there forever,” he said. “After you’re there a while, you start thinking too much like management. They need a fresh perspective. It’s kind of time to move on. I leave with no frustrations. It’s a personal thing.”
He said he departs with no conflicts with board members or administrators.
Although Sullivan said he knows board President Ron Danner will want to recognize his years of service at the board’s next meeting, Sullivan said he won’t likely attend.
“They don’t need to talk about me,” he said. “I don’t need recognition. That’s not why I’m there.”
As a lifelong Moffat County resident and owner of a ranch south of Craig, Sullivan said quality rural health care has always been important to him.
When he expressed interest in serving on the hospital board in 2003, it was because he felt he owed it to his community to be part of moving local health care into the future.
“I did it ultimately because I felt a sense of duty to the community,” he said. “Without quality health care, you don’t have a community. There’s no growth in the town, there’s no progress. You can’t have a Band-Aid station and ship people out of town to Steamboat.”
He said when the county commission first appointed him to the board in 2003, important changes were needed to bring a portion of the local market share back to Craig from other medical centers.
“There has been a major cultural change within the medical staff there within the last five years,” he said. “It was very necessary. It was necessary from the standpoint that the community deserved better than what they had.”
To help the community get the health care it deserved, Sullivan served as the finance committee chairman, joint conference committee chairman and board president during his tenure.
“I have a strong personality, for better or for worse,” he said. “I have very strong convictions. I don’t care if it’s an administrator or another board member. I will tell them exactly what I think.”
But, at some point, he said it becomes time to let the board — and himself — move on.
“At some point in time, you get tired of worrying about other people’s problems,” he said.
“You just feel a little burned out. I felt myself becoming a bit disengaged. I just thought from my mindset it was time that I move on.”
Still, he said the board will move forward without him and be successful as the accomplishments of the past several years build on one another.
TMH’s new facility is one recent achievement that will continue to have an impact, bringing expanded services to the community.
The snowball effect already has begun, Sullivan said, taking the form of a new oncology clinic that will open within the next two months.
Sullivan also anticipates TMH and the Craig community can support pulmonary specialists and a local orthopedic surgeon in the future.
“Our community deserves better than what it has, even right now, and it will get there in time,” he said.