01/23/05 — Duplin hospital readies 50-year fete

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Duplin hospital readies 50-year fete

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 23, 2005 2:06 AM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin General Hospital is at the threshold of a celebration, the kind that a half-century of history makes possible.

A committee has been working for nearly a year planning a day-long celebration of the hospital's 50th anniversary to be held March 19 in the Memorial Auditorium in Kenansville.

The hospital's community relations committee started meeting last March with about 75 community leaders to plan for the celebration, said Zettie Williams, who chairs the publicity committee with Barbara Harris. The committee met Wednesday night at the hospital.

Events include an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. with Skip Waters of Channel 12 as the master of ceremonies, hospital tours conducted by the nursing department, a birthday party for all babies born at the hospital, a history trail and free popcorn, drinks and hot dogs.

The history trail will bring people through the years, said Geraldine Tucker who chairs the events committee with Johnni Blackwell-Fennell. Rooms along the trail will depict highlights of the hospital's history, featuring expansions, additions, the South Wing and other buildings, and the addition of the intensive care unit. Each will have pictures and documents. People will be present who can answer questions about the hospital's history.

Anyone who was born at the hospital and attends the celebration can go home with a souvenir.

Delta Sigma Theta and the Duplin County Health Department will hold a health fair during the event, with 15 spaces for various screenings like Alzheimer's, bone density, body mass index, depression screening, diabetes and pediatric asthma.

It's an open invitation, said Rebecca Nesbitt, vice president of development and marketing. All people have to do is show up, she said. The committee wants to make the occasion meaningful for the citizens, she said.

As visitors wind through the history trail, they'll wind through the decades of the hospital, she said. It shows the partnerships that have developed, like that with James Sprunt Community College, which has provided many nurses through the years.

East Care will have its helicopter and ground ambulance on display, and the Green Berets will jump onto the helicopter pad.

School children in the public and private schools are being invited to participate in poster and essay contests. Also for the children the committee is planning clowns and face painting.