"We are about two weeks away from the hospital not existing for financial reasons."
Madison County Memorial Hospital's Chief Executive Officer stood before county commissioners begging for help as the hospital's final hour creeped closer. The county's only hospital found itself in major debt and needing a large financial boost just to continue operating- causing residents to fear for their jobs, their medical care and their lives.
"A strong hospital means a strong town and if we don't have a hospital we're going to have problems," said Tommy Hardee.
Commissioners opened the floor to the public and their emotional outcries were hard to ignore.
"If you got a child burning up with a fever, and you can't make it anywhere else, where are you going to go? So please, keep Madison County hospital, whatever it takes."
Hospital CEO David Abercrombie proposed this option: Buy the land set aside to build a brand new hospital for 1 million dollars, then sell it back to MCMH for 100 dollars. The asking price seemed a little unusual at first, but eventually the commissioners voted unanimously and accepted the offer.
"We did very well. Really one of the best parts of tonight, honestly, as much as we needed the money and we needed it desperately, nevertheless it was to see how much support we had around the community," said Abercrombie.
Commissioners will purchase the land with money collected from a half cent sales tax placed on on the county in 2006, which has generated 1.7 million dollars so far. Madison County residents can now sleep well knowing their hospital will survive.