As the 10th anniversary of 911 approaches, Americans are pausing to reflect on where they were and what they were doing on that day, September 11th, 2001.
Bert Driver of Smithville was in Washington, D.C. that morning attending a Nursery Conference. Driver said he was only a few miles from the Pentagon, which of course was one of the targets of the 911 attacks. "I had traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a nursery conference. The American Nursery and Landscape Association was hosting a conference that week. We had attended a series of seminars on that Monday. Tuesday morning we were beginning the day with Senator Larry Craig, who at that time was a senator from Idaho. (During the program) someone came to the podium to inform him of what had happened (in New York) and he was quickly escorted out of the room. So it took a few minutes to figure out what was going on. They rolled in a few TV monitors so that we could witness what everybody else was witnessing. It was relatively calm for the moment. After a few hours, people started to leave the hotel and tried to leave the city. By that time, the other plane had hit the Pentagon. I wanted to see what was going on so I made my way up to the top of the hotel. There were some maintenance guys who had opened a hatch there on the roof. They were curious as well so I had a pretty good line of sight across the Potomac over to the Pentagon. We were probably three or four miles away but we could see it (Pentagon) smoldering and the emergency vehicles. By this time, it had gotten into the afternoon hours on Tuesday. I later walked about a block away from the hotel and found it to be eerily quiet. Everybody was obviously stunned at what had happened and still processing what had happened. That was the most impressive thing to me at that moment, how quiet it had become," said Driver
Driver said although he was near the pentagon he did not see the crash or hear the explosion. "What we thought was an explosion turned out to be fighter planes. They had scrambled fighters and they had broken the sound barrier near the hotel. This was moments after the Pentagon had been hit so what we thought might have been an explosion we figured out later was actually F16s that had come down the Potomac to patrol the area," said Driver.
Anxious to return home, Driver said he had to find other means of transportation after all flights were grounded. "I wanted to leave as quickly as possible because no one knew what the next turn of events might be throughout the day and into the evening and next morning. I had gone so far as to try and get a train ticket to get out of town. I figured I could at least get down the coast to North Carolina and find my way back into Tennessee. That really was ultimately my goal. But by the morning hours one of our group, one of the other nurserymen had come up with a rental car. He had gotten a van so seven of us piled into the van and left that next morning and we drove straight through the day and into the next down through the Shenandoah Valley and made it back. We were fortunate because most people had to sit tight for a few days before they could leave," he said.
Driver said it felt good to get back home and it was also touching the way this community rallied in a special ceremony on the public square, downtown Smithville a few days after the tragedy. "I think it was a little bit of solidarity for us all to be together there in town on the square to recognize what had happened. It was moving to say the least and a great warming of the heart to be with our fellow citizens. That was a mementos day. I remember the flag they had brought down from Nashville and draped across the courthouse. It was a beautiful sunset. The bagpiper, the firemen, policemen, and all the emergency workers came in to the town square. There was patriotic music by the community chorus and the fantastic song that was unveiled by Aaron Tippin on that day "Where the Stars and Stripes the and Eagle Flies". It was a touchstone in my life and I'm sure everyone else's life. Its hard to believe a decade has come and gone and so much as happened in the world since. I can't get past those words in the song by Alan Jackson "Where were you when the world stopped turning". That really kind of sums it up. The circle of smoke and the helicopters around that Pentagon will be etched in my mind as long as I live. Those images are burned into my memory," said Driver.
A new market leadership team has been announced following the affiliation this summer of DeKalb Community Hospital (DCH) and Stones River Hospital (SRH) with Capella Healthcare. The new partnership united the two hospitals with Capella's White County Community Hospital (WCCH) to form a new regional entity designed to broaden care in the Upper
Bill Little, who has served as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for DCH and SRH since July 2009, has been promoted to Market CEO with responsibility for all three hospitals. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sarah Clark has moved up to Market CFO for the new entity and Eric Phillips, formerly Chief Nursing Officer for DCH, has been promoted to Market Chief Operating
Each of the three hospitals has a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), with Karen Hickey at Stones River Hospital, Robin Byler at White County Community Hospital, and Rick Gillentine joining DeKalb Community Hospital this month.
Bill Little, a native of Smithville, served as Chief Operating Officer at Cookeville Regional Medical Center prior to joining DCH and SRH. Before that, he spent five years serving as Vice President of Financial Operations at Vanguard Health Systems in Arizona. While there, he also
served as the Chief Financial Officer for Arrowhead Hospital and Medical Center in Glendale, AZ. Little obtained his B.S. degree in Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University.
Sarah Clark also worked at Cookeville Regional Medical Center prior to joining DCH and SRH, serving as Director of CRMC's MSO, where she directed operations for all of their employed physicians. Prior to that she was a principal in an accounting firm providing consulting and accounting services to physicians and other small businesses. She spent ten years with HCA working at the corporate office and in two facilities, Smyrna Medical Center and Livingston Regional Hospital. A Certified Public Accountant, Clark earned her B.S. degree in Accounting from Tennessee Technological University.
Prior to his promotion to Market COO, Eric Phillips served as CNO for DCH since 2009. Before that, he held nursing supervisor positions at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, University Medical Center (Lebanon) and Centennial Medical Center (Nashville). Phillips began his career in
healthcare as a paramedic. He earned a bachelor's degree in emergency management from Western Carolina University and a law degree from the Nashville School of Law. A decorated veteran, Phillips served with the U.S. Navy for four years in Sea Air Search and Rescue (Waterborne Rescue Operations), earning numerous awards.
Rick Gillentine, RN, joined DCH on September 1 as Chief Nursing Officer. He previously worked for StoneCrest Medical Center in Smyrna for seven years in a variety of positions, including Community Navigator, Disaster Preparedness Coordinator, and Assistant Director of Emergency Services. Gillentine also worked in nursing at Centennial Medical Center and Saint
Thomas Hospital in Nashville as well as River Park Hospital in McMinnville. He earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Belmont
Karen Hickey, RN, has been CNO at SRH since 2010, overseeing all clinical departments and serving as program director for the geriatric psychiatric unit.
Robin Byler, RN, has been CNO at WCCH for five years, assisting with the hospital's transition to Capella Healthcare in 2008.
"We are excited about the strength of this leadership team and the opportunities they have before them to expand and enhance services throughout the region," said Mark Medley, President of Capella Healthcare's Hospital Division. "All three hospitals have a rich history
of providing high quality care and excellent service for their communities. We are confident they are well-positioned for success in the coming years."
Based in Franklin, Tenn., Capella Healthcare owns and/or operates 15 general acute-care hospitals in seven states. With the philosophy that all healthcare is local, Capella collaborates with each hospital's medical staff, board and community leadership to take care to the next level. The
company has access to significant leadership and financial resources, reinvesting 100% of net cash flow into its family of hospitals to strengthen and expand services and facilities.
Capella has five hospitals in Tennessee, including 71-bed DeKalb Community Hospital in Smithville, 60-bed Stones River Hospital in Woodbury and 60-bed White County Community Hospital in Sparta as well as Grandview Medical Center in Jasper and River Park Hospital in McMinnville. For more information, visit the company's website at www.CapellaHealthcare.com.