Moffat County commissioner Tom Gray knew what he was looking for when he reviewed applications for a vacant seat on The Memorial Hospital.
“You need people who know things and know how to learn things,” he said.
For Gray, Craig resident Forrest Luke fit the bill.
At its Tuesday meeting, the county commission approved, 3-0, appointing Luke to a board position vacated by Melton Sullivan, who resigned April 6.
“I appreciate their confidence in me and I just hope I can do a good job … for the hospital and the community as a whole,” Luke said.
Luke applied for Corrie Ponikvar’s position when she left the board after her five-year term ended in January. That position, however, went to John Kinkaid, who was appointed by the commission Jan. 26.
Luke is the manager of environmental and external affairs at Trapper Mining Inc. He has lived in Craig for 17 years.
He is a past member of the Colorado Geological Society advisory board, past chairman of the Colorado Mining Association coal committee, and a past chairman of the Northwest Colorado Energy Producers.
Luke said he hopes to be a “positive contributor” to the board.
“Obviously, I am not an expert at how a hospital runs,” he said. “But, I hope to bring some of my past experiences in different areas, and hope to help the hospital achieve their goals of excellence in medical care and to be the best rural hospital in Colorado.”
Luke’s board position has a five-year term.
He said he does not have an agenda of issues he would like to change or pursue.
Rather, Luke said, he looks forward to the new experiences he will encounter serving on the board.
“I have got a lot to learn and look forward to that learning curve and working with the other members of the board,” he said. “It’s just always fun to learn something new, and hopefully I have got some skills that will help me get through that learning curve.”
Gray agrees that Luke, and all new board members, have a learning curve when first starting.
“Everybody does a lot of learning on that board,” he said. “It is at least a six-month minimum to get up to speed. That is a complicated (board), particularly some of the sub-committees they have are pretty complicated.”
Commissioner Tom Mathers said Luke, in addition to being able to learn the workings of the hospital, has the time to devote to serving the board effectively.
“This hospital board, they have some extensive meetings (and) they have a lot of committees and it takes a lot of time,” he said. “I just felt like Forrest was more in tune with that.”
Mathers said Luke’s experience with other boards would help him serve the hospital board well.
“He has sat on a lot of boards,” Mathers said. “He is the kind of person that likes that kind of work. There have been some board members that haven’t been active and that has caused some problems. So, I do think that he’ll fit in real well.”
Ron Danner, hospital board chairman, said he is “looking forward to having him (as) part of the board.”
Danner said Luke has a “commitment to the community.”
“I think if he is willing to step forward and willing to contribute and volunteer his time, that will be a very good situation,” Danner said. “… An influx of new blood is always welcome in any organization.”
Danner said fresh faces are welcome to the board because the board is supposed to represent the Moffat County community as a whole.
“I think it brings new ideas, new perspective, (and to) look at things differently, that is always a good, positive thing to have a different perspective on boards,” he said.