Many things come to mind when the names Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer are spoken – savvy business acumen, dedication to their faith community, as well as support for the arts, women’s causes, animal welfare, higher education and more. Especially in the High Country, the Schaefer family name evokes gratitude for the incredible philanthropy, support and wisdom they give to their community.
The Schaefers have been great friends to Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) throughout the years. They both recently experienced significant health challenges and turned to ARHS to walk with them through their journey of healing.
For a total of 70 days and nights over the last two years, Bonnie and Jamie considered the hospitalists, doctors and nurses at Watauga Medical Center to be their extended family, describing them as “our angels with invisible wings who provided comfort and care on a daily basis.”
While the Schaefers have the means and opportunity to seek healthcare from anywhere in the world, they trusted Appalachian Regional Healthcare System with life-saving medical care, chronic disease management, surgical services, emergency care, intensive care — as well as several other service lines and specialists. Fortunately, they are both on the road to good health and they only return to the hospital for routine care these days.
But while they were in the hospital, they realized that the world-class healthcare they received from the people of Watauga Medical Center didn’t necessarily match the aging physical building.
“They say people make a place and it’s a good thing, because the core hospital, built in 1967, is dated, in disrepair and in need of improvement,” said Bonnie.
“Watauga Medical Center offers life-saving medical care to those living in the High Country,” said Jamie. “The patients and healthcare professionals need and deserve a new, state-of-the-art hospital.”
The couple recently returned to the hospital – their “home away from home” – to thank the hospital family, including doctors, nurses, dietary staff, lab technicians, cleaning staff, and the chaplain.
And in a tradition as long-standing as the Schaefer family itself, they are taking steps to ensure that everyone continues to receive the same high standard of care they did – for generations to come – in a brand new, modern patient care tower.
“I would like to thank Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer, Marla Schaefer and Steve Weishoff for their generosity in providing the lead gift for a new 48-bed hospital tower,” said Rob Hudspeth, President of the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation and Sr. Vice President for System Advancement for ARHS. “This historic investment will fuel the future of healthcare in the High Country, ensure access to continued technological improvements and allow us to reimagine our community hospital to address the ever-changing world of healthcare.”
- To learn more about the hospital expansion project, visit apprhs.org/wmc-expansion/.
- For more information about the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation, visit apprhs.org/foundation.
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