By Lisa R. RhodesJune 30, 2011
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - A painting was unveiled Friday as part of the 50th anniversary of the dedication that named Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center after Col. James Claude Kimbrough.
About 400 people attended the commemoration held on the facility's front lawn.
"From the Kimbrough family to their extended Kimbrough family," said Col. Leon E. Moores, commander of the Fort Meade U.S. Army Medical Department Activity and commander of Kimbrough, as he unveiled the painting with Col. Dale K. Block, a former commander of Kimbrough.
The gold-framed painting of Kimbrough was donated by Jane Kimbrough-Cobb, 81, as a gift to the outpatient facility.
As the sole-surviving child of Kimbrough, she presented the painting to Moores when he visited Kimbrough-Cobb in Knoxville, Tenn.
Staff members and several distinguished guests, including three previous Kimbrough commanders, celebrated the facility's health care service to active-duty service members, retirees and family members as well as Reservists and National Guardsmen on active duty.
"We have a responsibility to carry forward the excellent work of the past and improve upon it," Moores said during the commemoration. "We need to imagine what this institution should look like in 2020 and work toward that goal."
On June 29, 1961, the U.S. Army Hospital at Fort Meade, then a 145-bed acute care community hospital, was dedicated in honor of Kimbrough, who is considered to be the "father of U.S. Army Urology." He was a veteran of both world wars and a recipient of the Bronze Star.
The facility became the U.S. Army Kimbrough Hospital.
In 1969, the hospital was redesignated and reorganized to U.S. Army Medical Department Activity, Fort Meade. Due to a Base Realignment and Closure Commission, the hospital was downgraded to an outpatient facility in 1996. Inpatient services, the intensive care unit and emergency room were closed, and the facility officially became Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center. In 2007, Fort Meade's Warrior Transition Unit was established under Kimbrough.
Friday's hourlong commemoration began with music performed by the 257th Army National Guard Band from Washington, D.C., and an invocation by Chaplain (Maj.) Dean A. Darroux.
Jennie Wu, the longest serving American Red Cross volunteer in Kimbrough's history, received a standing ovation and a handshake from Moores. Wu has been a volunteer at Kimbrough since 1962.
"This means a lot to me," she said. "I really enjoy working here."
A historical display, which included photographs of Camp Meade Hospital that was part of the original installation in 1917, was placed at the facility's entrance along with photographs of former Kimbrough commanders.
In his remarks, Moores said that during Kimbrough's 50 years, the staff has performed 300,000 surgical procedures, given more than 3 million immunizations and filled more than 66 million prescriptions.
"This is a great, great facility," said Block, commander of DiLorenzo TRICARE Health Clinic at the Pentagon, who commanded Kimbrough from 1991 to 1992.
Block said that under his tenure, the facility had 89 active beds and a pediatric section and provided respite care. The staff also served a large population of exceptional family members.
Maj. Gen. Carla G. Hawley-Bowland, commander of the Army's North Atlantic Regional Medical Command /Walter Reed Army Medical Center, later recalled her early years as a general medical officer at Fort Meade.
"My first assignment in the Army was here at Kimbrough. ... What a great place," Hawley-Bowland said as the commemoration drew to a close. "We treated an enormous number of patients and we also ran the emergency room. ... I had a wonderful time."
After the ceremony, Georgine Pahlow, the facility's Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act officer, said the event was a "trip down memory lane." Pahlow was hired at Kimbrough as a medical record clerk in 1983 and worked her way up through the years.
"Every day you can help someone," Pahlow said, "you know you've accomplished something for someone at the end of the day, whether it be for a staff member or patient."