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SCNC celebrates 50th anniversary

Scott County Nursing Center has completed its fiftieth year of operation, and looking for a typical but less traditional way of celebrating without having to relocate the celebration or relive 2020.

“The obvious will be a great difference in past celebrations, when community and family members joined in and honored residents with elegant tables of home baked goods, and displays of old photos of years gone by,” Debbie (Gregory) O’Dell, SCNC administrator, said. “Scott County Nursing Center displayed awards, and certificates of excellence from the Facility Board, County Commissioners, Administrator, Director of Nursing and employees where they were recognized for their excellent representation of our facility.”

Celebrating Scott County Nursing Center 50th years of service to the community and surrounding areas should not be as hard as the COVID response has made it.

While preparing for said celebration 2021, the staff has had the heartwarming opportunity to look through and actually study the years gone by before the current administration and realizing the efforts, dedication and the reputation defining who Scott County Nursing Center is to the community.

The countless photo albums, newspaper clippings, photos of resident’s activities, photos of staff and management of years past have been reviewed. One of the first things for me to notice was the numerous statements of philosophy of how Scott County Nursing Center was to be run.

The following is a partial reading from;

“Happiness Is…Scott County Nursing Center”

“Welcome to one of the finest Healthcare Facilities in the State of Illinois. We are striving to maintain nursing services at the highest possible level. I truly feel it is through the efforts of our staff that we enjoy such a fine reputation. One of our biggest assets is the families and tremendous community support.” Statements like these are endless through the history of Scott County Nursing Center. “To meet and exceed what is expected in resident care, will be how we continue.” Words of Inez Holder, Facility Administrator—1971—1997.

As far back as 1953 the county saw the need for a nursing home and after much discussion and investigation into the possibility, the County Commissioners declared it not feasible to proceed.

In 1969 a bond was passed and a site was purchased for a sum of $6,000.00. however, in December of 1969, St. MarkCatholic Church donated land for the purpose of a nursing center. The board was formed and the resolution passed adopting the name Scott County Nursing Center. At that time the Board members were; John Allen, Frank Hart, C. E. Marshall, S. R. Farris, Harold Oakes, Loretta Day, Claude Haney, and Lyndall Andras. County Commissioners were; Ben Placke (chair), Carl Woodock, Del Yelm, Harold Fearneyhough.

In 1970, Don Hafner was employed as the architect and Crabtree and Fernandes were the low bidders in the amount of $44,297.000.00.

In March of 1970, Robert McClurry was employed as the first administrator and served until 1972. Business Office Manager at that time was Inez Myers. Director of Nursing was Lola Hickey.

The center opened to residents in April of 1971 with 38 full time and 10 part time employees with a 54 bed capacity.

On April 19, 1971, Scott County Nursing Center received their first resident, Mr. John Barnett. He was welcomed by the administrator Robert McCleary and Mrs. Hickey (head nurse). From that day forth, Scott County Nursing Center has set the bar for the long-term care industry and what resident care should be.

In April of 1972, Lola Hickey served as Administrator and retired in 1978. At that time Inez Holder was the Business Office Manager and assumed the role of Administrator until her retirement in 1979. During this time, Kathy Lindsey (Pascal) was Business Office Manager to later return in 2018. Amy Kaunors was facility Director of Nursing and Dr. James Bohan was Medical Director for 42 years retiring in 2021.

Administrators since that time have been Christy Johnson-Jarvis and Ruby Hoots. During this time frame; the bed capacity was changed to 49 to meet the standards of Certification of Medicare in 2007. Which meant the facility could accept patients who received benefits from not only Medicaid but could provide seniors as well for Medicare recipients.

Some of the many improvements made over the years have been expansions of office space, visiting areas, sun room for the residents and families, patio with garden and gazebo, outside laundry room, larger dining room, out buildings, complete new roofing system and H-Vac, new 150 kw generator that provides emergency electricity to the entire campus and a new bus.

Through the years, regulations, rules and policies change, but our vision statement and philosophy of resident care remains the same. Statements like, “Treating our residents like our own family,” “The best kept secret in the industry,” and “Scott County Nursing Center’s staff acts like their on a crusade to be the best they can be,” are just the reflections of years of superior care and the reputation set before us.

As the current Administrator for Scott County Nursing Center, I am taking this opportunity to give the highest expression of gratitude to past employees. What big shoes we have to fill and with a strong desire to have and achieve such as you have.

I also would like to honor Scott County Nursing Center employees from the past whom may have passed on leaving this world. As healthcare providers we work from the heart. So for all those touching the lives of residents served, may you always be remembered.

The current facility board members are; Robin Lyons (chair), Kim Scott, Linda Mueller, Janice Hatcher, Kay Lawless, Nancy Lashmett, and Charlie Sanders.

County Commissioners; Bob Schaffer (chair), Dan Hatcher, Weldon Fearneyhough, and Dr. Ronald Johnson as the new Medical Director.

As far as Scott County Nursing Center, we will continue to look for a complete and joyous way to celebrate our 50th Anniversary of service to the community and surrender areas.


Debbie (Gregory) O’Dell,



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