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Medical facility means more than just care

It was nearly 12 years ago that River Valley Health Systems closed its doors for good, marking the first time Ironton hadn’t had a hospital of its own in decades.

Essentially, that will change today.

St. Mary’s Medical Center will cut the ribbon on its multimillion dollar, state-of-the-art facility that will ring in an important new era for the community.

Although officials are hesitant to call it a full-fledged hospital, it is very close to one. And maybe even a little more.

The campus will include a 24-hour emergency room that is staffed by the same caliber physicians as the Huntington hospital as well as provide a variety of other services that include imaging, pediatrics, dentistry, family care and more.

This facility is further strengthened by the fact that it features a collaborative partnership with the Ironton-Lawrence Community Action Organization, an agency that has been addressing health care needs in the county for years.

Although the St. Mary’s center won’t officially open until Monday, the public will have a chance to see it up close at today’s ceremony and open house from 2 to 5 p.m.

Hopefully the community will take advantage of this opportunity because this is an important day for Ironton’s future and is important to the quality of life of its citizens.

Losing its hospital was about more than just the loss of care. The blow created a loss of identity, a loss of confidence and even a loss of pride.

Thankfully, many of those traits are returning to Ironton and St. Mary’s and the CAO are a big part of the reason why.