Wayne Memorial Hospital Turns 100! Mural Unveiled

(September 21, 2020)…On September 19th, 2020, Wayne Memorial Hospital honored its heritage with the unveiling of a mural depicting the past 100 years in the hospital’s history. In a brief ceremony—just ten days shy of the original dedication on September 29, 1920—approximately 40 invitees showed up to celebrate, including State Senator Lisa Baker, Representative Jonathan Fritz, Pike County Commissioner Steve Guccini and Honesdale Mayor Sarah Canfield. While the number of guests was limited due to COVID, there was no lack of enthusiasm for the day and the painting. Local artist Juan Espino chose hallmarks of the hospital’s long colorful history, from its humble beginnings in an old mansion on Court Street to the construction of the new private-room patient tower in 2019 and the rededication of the hospital to all veterans in 2020. The COVID pandemic is subtly present in the people wearing masks in the later panels.

Earlier in the week, the Wayne County Commissioners issued a proclamation honoring the hospital and its milestones over the years, its high level of care and its economic importance in the area.  At the event itself, Wayne Memorial Hospital/Health System First Vice Chair Joann Hudak, centennial committee chair, read a letter from Governor Tom Wolf congratulating Wayne Memorial on its 100th.  Representative Fritz and Senator Baker, both longtime friends of the hospital, lauded its accomplishments.

“Wayne Memorial has been a leader in many ways,” said Senator Baker, “and should be commended.”  She cited the hospital’s participation in the groundbreaking Rural Health Model, which is changing the way rural hospitals are paid in an effort to keep them thriving.

“This hospital is rural but very highly regarded,” echoed Representative Fritz. He spoke about a skiing accident years ago which left his skull fractured. “I was brought to Wayne Memorial. Doctor George Tietjen saved my life. This hospital is part of the very fabric of the community and its evolution is nothing short of amazing.”

Pike County Commissioner Steve Guccini, who was born at Wayne Memorial,  noted that a much more recent experience with its services was “remarkable and showed a lot of compassion.”

Wayne Memorial Board Chairman Hugh Rechner spoke about the significance of the centennial itself, the legacy of the hospital’s ties to the brave local soldiers who fought and died in World War I and to veterans everywhere for their service. Rechner also touched on the “seismic” changes in healthcare in the last 100 years – from treatment and delivery to payment models.

The public is invited to view the mural in the new pedestrian concourse at any time, following COVID safety protocols of course— masking and social distancing.

“The mural is really stunning,” said Rechner, “the attention to detail is amazing.  And for those of us who have known the hospital over many decades, it really brings back memories.”

The mural originated with a painting, which will be on display in the hospital’s David Katz Conference Center. Juan Espino, who was at the ceremony with his wife Mildred, expressed his appreciation for having been commissioned to do the mural. “It is a true honor,” he said.

For a look at some videos of the hospital’s history, visit wmh.org/our-centennial and wmh.org/centennial-trivia-contest.

Photo with mural, left to right:  Wayne Memorial CEO David Hoff; former WMH Board Chair Dirk Mumford; Wayne Health Services Board Chair Bob Suhosky; WMH Board Secretary Wendell Hunt; WMH First Vice Chair and Chair Centennial Committee Joann Hudak; artist Juan Espino; WMH Board Chair Hugh Rechner; State Senator Lisa Baker (R); Honesdale Mayor Sarah Canfield; Pike County Commissioner Steve Guccini; Wayne County District Attorney A.G. Howell; State Representative Jonathan Fritz (R). 


  Artist Juan Espino and wife Mildred.

  Painting, from which mural originated.