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A limestone mountain that's also a fountain was dedicated on Tuesday in front of Adams Memorial Hospital to honor the man who's retiring after being its executive director since 1989 — Marvin Baird.
Baird, who came to Adams County in the midst of a career as a hospital management expert, will leave in coming weeks to move to Greenwood with his wife, Jackie.
At the end of yesterday's ceremony, Baird, his voice cracking a bit after receiving two surprise awards and the applause of a large crowd, said he is "deeply humbled and honored" at such recognition and added that he drew his greatest pleasure from serving the people of Adams County.
One presentation was the Distinguished Hoosier Award, signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels and delivered by State Rep. Matt Lehman of Berne. That large, framed document says, "Some individuals distinguish themselves through significant contributions to their communities.
"The qualities and characteristics of such individuals reflect the best of the great state of Indiana. Indiana treasures individuals who give their time and talents out of an abiding sense of responsibility, commitment, and concern for others."
The other presentation was a resolution by the Indiana Hospital Association (IHA), which Baird served not only as a member of the board of directors, but also as a member of the IHA's Rural Health and Government Relations councils; the Nominating, Friends of Indiana Hospitals, and Finance committees; and the Rural Payment and County Hospital task forces.
The resolution was handed to Baird by Doug Leonard, IHA president, who noted that the certificate commends Baird for "many years of exemplary service to the nation, the State of Indiana, Adams County, the Indiana Hospital Association, and its member hospitals.
The program opened with Larry Macklin, executive director of the Adams County Economic Development Corp. and a member of the Adams Health Network (hospital board), referring to Baird as "totally honest, fair, and compassionate," with "an ability to lead" and "develop such a wonderful, great rapport" with others.
The high point of his career here, noted Macklin, was opening of the new hospital in Decatur in 2005, which he termed "one of the most influential and attractive" hospitals in the region.
Over the course of more than two decades as the head of what became the Adams Health Network, Baird oversaw expansion to include the Paul and Kathryn Strickler Oncology Institute at AMH, Woodcrest Retirement Community and nursing center and Evergreen Court Assisted Living Center in Decatur, The Village of Heritage nursing home in Monroeville, the Adams Health Network's rehabilitation unit in Decatur, and a physicians' office building under construction beside the hospital.
Macklin said the fountain creates "a scenic welcome" to the hospital and also will allow the circular driveway to be widened.
The money for the fountain and for a metal sculpture crafted by local artist Greg Mendez was raised quickly and in an "overwhelming" amount. Mendez, a 2000 graduate of Bellmont High School, is a professional artist. The money for the sculpture came from the John and Kay Boch Fund in the Adams County Community Foundation (ACCF).
Dr. Robert Judge, president of the hospital board, spoke of "the beautiful reality of this wonderful fountain" and described it as "a magnificent project."
Leonard called Baird 'a friend and mentor" and said that when you enter Adams Memorial Hospital "you get a wonderful warm feeling that truly reflects on the leader."
Lehman said of the hospital, "We really have a jewel in this facility and in the Adams Health Network."
The program also featured a duet of Ryan Hirschy and hospital employee Mary Alberding as they sang "You Raise Me Up" and "God Bless America," accompanied by keyboardist Ron Gage.