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Lorrine Miller: A Blowing Rock Story: Connected at Birth, Together Through Life

Few relationships in life are more meaningful than those established at birth. This was certainly the case for Lorrine Miller, when in September 1951 she was delivered by Dr. Charles Davant, Jr. at Blowing Rock Hospital, while it was still under construction. The hospital officially opened a few months later the following year. Although neither party realized it at the time, Miller would grow up to be endearingly connected to Blowing Rock Hospital for the rest of her life.

Lorrine Miller
Lorrine Miller

Being the oldest of six children, Miller felt a strong desire to support her family financially. After graduating from Watauga High School, she was hired as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Blowing Rock Hospital. Without a driver’s license at the time, she fondly remembers riding into town each morning with her dad to be dropped off for work.

Eager to contribute, yet inexperienced in her position, Miller credits Edna Hartley, a seasoned CNA, for taking her under her wing and “feathering her to success.” The dynamic duo quickly became friends and worked together on the second floor for many years. Miller also served in delivery, central supply, acute care, the operating room and the emergency department before deciding to go back to school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in 1978.

“I will never forget my first shift back at the hospital as an LPN,” said Miller with a smile. “At that time, we were taught in school to wear the traditional nurse uniform, so I pulled my hair back and proudly placed my nursing hat on my head. Not long after, nurses stopped wearing that uniform, but nonetheless, it was a special moment for me.”
Over the course of her 47-year-career she cared for thousands of patients and survived the occasional snow storm by spending the night in the hospital’s med student quarters. More recently, she witnessed Blowing Rock Hospital join Appalachian Regional Healthcare System(ARHS) in 2007 and transition into a post-acute care facility,Blowing Rock Rehabilitation and Davant Extended Care Center in 2013. Miller is now looking forward to the future when The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge will open later this summer.
After conducting a community needs assessment, ARHS determined it would be in the best interest of the region to replace the existing Blowing Rock facility with a larger, modern 112-bed post-acute care center located on a 68-acre tract alongside Hwy 321. The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge will offer residents short and long-term rehabilitation care, skilled nursing, palliative care and assisted living, as well as an on-site medical clinic and pharmacy.
“Although change is never easy, I believe it’s time to embrace the future,” said Miller. “I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store for the staff, residents and their families at The Foley Center.”
Outside of work, the Daisy Award winner [for extraordinary nursing] enjoys spending time with her family, at church, making hot pepper jelly and jumping on her trampoline – a Miller approved secret to a youthful spirit.
When asked about retirement, she smiled and said, “The Lord has me where I am for a reason, to serve others and regardless of what building we are in, I don’t believe He is done with me yet. Maybe, after I celebrate my 50th year at The Foley Center, I’ll consider it.”
To learn more about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System or The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge visitwww.apprhs.org.