DEAR EDITOR:

It’s great that we’re recognizing all of our health care workers who’ve work hard to serve those in our community, especially during this pandemic. We should also recognize a special ‘old girl’ who’s tirelessly served Cobb County’s medical needs for 70 years. Kennestone Hospital was officially opened on May 15, 1950.

Today, we are blessed to have many hospitals and medical facilities around our county. I remember a time when we didn’t. I remember a time when if you lived in Smyrna and needed to be rushed to the hospital, you hoped there wasn’t a train coming through because it meant the ambulance had to wait until it passed. Now, of course, we have several options, good roads and most importantly, underpasses to help us get there fast.

Kennestone’s original building was much smaller that today’s multi-building edifice. At the time, as a child, it seemed so big and it was, compared to the aged brick, wooden-floor building it replaced in downtown Marietta.

So, on May 15, 1950, Kennestone Hospital officially opened. Two months later, I was born there. I remember when the first year children started school in 1956, we were invited to the hospital and along with a tour of the hospital, received a ‘book satchel’, one of those old-fashioned kind with a shoulder strap and a flap with two buckles. For a 6-year-old in 1950, it was a big deal. During the tour they explained to us that the hospital got its name from being on a hill with a view of both Kennesaw and Stone Mountains, hence ‘Kennestone’.

Over the years, I’ve had four operations there, with one when I was 10 that saved my life. I’ll never forget Doctors Schmidt and Palmer, they saved my one kidney — who knew some of us were born with just one? Anyway, successful kidney transplants back then were unheard of. I understand Dr. Schmidt’s son still works at Kennestone — one of many fine doctors there. Over the years, I have met many excellent staff members there while volunteering with Pastoral Care, and visiting church members. All of whom deserve our praise, not just now because of this pandemic but for being there everyday for us and our loved ones.

So, I hope you’ll join me in wishing Kennestone Hospital and all those associated with her over her 70-year span a happy 70th birthday!

Peter Harris

Marietta

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