The Memorial Hospital’s Andy Hughes says goodbye to Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

The Memorial Hospital’s Andy Hughes says goodbye to Craig

Andy Hughes

Andy Hughes already has the city of Craig in his rear-view mirror, but he certainly hasn't forgotten the people in town he's worked with, nor have they forgotten him.

Hughes, a family practitioner with The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic, had his last day of work in Craig on Friday and since has readied himself for a move elsewhere in Colorado, namely the community of Sterling.

"My wife and I want to get much closer to family," he said. "We have five adult sons and 10 grandchildren who all live in Loveland and Fort Collins. My wife's parents live in Loveland, and that's less than two hours from Sterling. That's where my wife is from originally, too."

Hughes will be working for Sterling Salud Family Health Center. Salud offers clinics in nine northern and northeastern Colorado cities, including Estes Park, Longmont, Fort Lupton and Brighton.

"They're a community health clinic and they're kind of the equivalent of the VNA (Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association), and they're heavily federally funded," he said.

Hughes said much of his work in Sterling will focus on newborn and pediatric patients, but as a family practitioner, he's equipped to handle any ages.

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Although he's excited for the move, Hughes said he has enjoyed his time in Craig.

"We're going to miss the area very much, and the people in Craig are great folks," he said. "We're definitely going to miss the mountains, because you can't even see any in Sterling."

TMH hosted a farewell event for Hughes on Wednesday, in which the departing doctor got a send-off from the co-workers and patients he has grown to know since joining the hospital staff in January 2009.

"He's been a fantastic physician for our community, he's been a great leader in our organization, and it's going to be very hard to see him go," said Jennifer Riley, TMH's chief of organizational excellence.

Riley added that the farewell event was well attended by community members and colleagues sad to see Hughes for possibly the last time.

"We will miss him, but (CEO) Chris Smolik said if he decides Sterling isn't where he wants to be, we would welcome him back with open arms," she said.

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.