As Director of Plant Operations at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, Jack Kennington knows what it takes to keep a hospital running. He has lived in Florida his entire life and made it through more hurricanes than he can remember. So when Hurricane Michael moved north toward Panama City, Jack and his colleagues gathered at the hospital and began preparing for the worst.
They stayed at the hospital from Tuesday morning through Saturday. He says “We had no working line of communication, so I didn’t know the condition of my wife and family. But the hospital took care of us – we had everything we needed to keep our patients and everyone safe.”
Jack was relieved to discover his family was unhurt, but quickly realized there was a significant amount of damage to their property. Four trees had come down, two of which fell on the house – there were holes in the roof and three sides of their home had been damaged. Despite all this, Jack counts himself lucky to still have a home he could live in unlike so many friends, colleagues, and neighbors.
HR representatives spoke to Jack and his colleagues and told them the importance of applying for help from the Hope Fund. Jack recalls “It’s something I’ve donated to since shortly after I was hired, but I’ve never in my life used anything like this.”
Two days after applying, Jack was approved for emergency financial assistance. He was able to use the funds provided by the Hope Fund from thousands of caring colleagues all across the company to buy food, clothing, and generator fuel in the aftermath of the storm.
“I had some employees who did not want to apply for help from the Hope Fund,” he said, “because they felt like they could do things on their own – but I encouraged them, and they finally applied for it. And then, when the Hope Fund sent the money to help buy clothes and have a place to sleep, you could tell the difference in the looks on their faces when they came into work. They looked like they had hope in their lives again.”
He was astonished by the level of support he and his family as well as his colleagues received from the Hope Fund and employee volunteers from across the company. Jack says “I spent 22 years at a non-HCA Healthcare hospital. When hurricanes came through and people were affected, they were pretty much left on their own. With HCA Healthcare and the HCA Hope Fund, it’s not that way. They help you from start to stop, and I’ve never seen that with a corporation before. I encourage everybody, if you don’t donate, consider starting. Or, if something happens, don’t be bashful – ask for help.”