Governor: ‘Fond memories’ at Shelby BaptistPublished 3:51pm Thursday, September 12, 2013
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
When Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley walked into Shelby Baptist Medical Center’s South Tower on Sept. 12, he had a hard time believing it was connected to the same building he worked in more than 40 years ago.
“I worked here so long ago that it was called Shelby Memorial,” Bentley said during his 1:30 p.m. visit to the Alabaster hospital. “I’ve got some fond memories of this hospital.”
Bentley, a Columbiana native, said he worked as a scrub nurse after his freshmen year in medical school at the University of Alabama, and returned to the hospital to work during his senior year.
“I learned a lot from the nurses here. It was a good summer,” Bentley said. “My daddy died in this hospital, so this hospital really means a lot to me.”
During his visit, Bentley met with Shelby Baptist leaders and received a tour of the sprawling medical center off U.S. 31. Hospital personnel touted Shelby Baptist’s involvement with Virtual Alabama, which allows first responders and agencies to share imagery and information all over the state, and the hospital’s hosting of Project SEARCH students.
Through Project SEARCH, Shelby Baptist works with the Shelby County School System to host student interns who have special needs. During the internships, the students learn job skills and social skills, and hospital officials work to secure gainful employment for them after finishing the program.
“I’m very proud of y’all for doing this,” Bentley said of Project SEARCH.
Bentley said the hospital has been “upgraded tremendously” since he worked there, and praised hospital employees for serving Shelby County residents.
“You are doing such a great job here,” Bentley said. “I think you are serving the greatest county in Alabama.”