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Leadership Gifts to Capital Campaign Create Enduring Legacy

The Special Meaning Behind Naming Hospital Spaces

Sunny and Steve Keithley have been generous supporters of CalvertHealth since 2014. Their gifts have impacted many areas of the hospital.

Steve and Sunny Keithley care about the community – about making it a better place. They’ve called Calvert home for more than 40 years and raised their two daughters here. For them, it’s all about giving back. They’ve seen the hospital grow right alongside the county and wanted to be a part of the exciting new private patient tower at CalvertHealth Medical Center (CHMC). “Whatever we get involved with, we put both feet in,” said Sunny, whose smile is as bright as her giving spirit. “We can’t belong to something and not do something.”

They both vividly recall what it was like for her to recuperate in a semi-private room at another hospital after giving birth to their oldest daughter in 1986. And it’s not an experience they want to repeat.

Where Sunny is passionate, Steve is practical. “I like to see people happy,” she said. “It gives me joy.” Her husband of 41 years agrees. “Our friends will tell you the most generous person they know is Sunny,” he said. She smiles at him and laughs. “It just makes me feel good. That’s just who I am.”

For Steve, who retired in 2006, the decision to make a substantial gift to the expansion project was more about reflecting on what was important to him. “It kind of evolved as we became more aware of the importance of private rooms and the difference they can make to healing.”

As an avid bowhunter, his quiet place is 25 feet up a tree where he likes to think about all kinds of things. “You get to the point in your life where you appreciate your health. And you think it’s time to give back to the things you care about.”

His philosophy is best summed up by a quote he read that has stuck with him: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Their only point of contention was what area to name in honor of their gift and what should be on the plaque. “I wanted wee letters and no picture,” she said. Steve thought the photo of them celebrating their recent anniversary was just right. “Sunny would have been happy to put it in the ladies room.” But after some negotiation, they agreed to name the renovated medical center lobby.

“I think it makes a big statement,” said Steve. “We believe in the direction that CalvertHealth is going and in the leadership and the vision.”

Thanking a Wonderful Doctor

Marianne Harms will forever be grateful for the loving care Dr. John Weigel showed her and her late husband, John Harms, Sr., who passed away five years ago. “John was always there for us,” she said. “When you left his office, you felt reassured that everything was going to be OK.”

It was a relationship that started some 30 years ago. “First, he was my doctor. But when John started having dizzy spells, I suggested he see someone locally. It turned out Dr. Weigel was Louis Goldstein’s personal physician and that was all the recommendation he needed.”

At the time, her husband was overweight and was a borderline diabetic. “He valued John’s advice,” said Marianne. “He started walking every day and he wanted salads all the time. Before long he lost 50 pounds.”

She went on to add, “As we went through the aging process, I discovered how kind and respectful he (Dr. Weigel) was. He always listened and was just a quiet presence till the end.”

When it came time to name her gift to the capital campaign she could not think of a more deserving recipient than Dr. John Weigel. The plaque naming the Level 2 Concourse after him was unveiled at his retirement ceremony last year.

He was surprised but very appreciative of the honor. “It was totally unexpected but greatly appreciated,” said Dr. Weigel. “There are many other doctors equally if not more deserving.” He joined the active medical staff in 1982 at age 29 and served his entire career locally.

Honoring Two Incredible Women

“We’re lucky to have such a great hospital close by,” said longtime Calvert resident and businessman Donald Smolinski. He and his wife of 58 years live in St. Leonard where they host regular Sunday dinners for a table full of family and friends.

Their priorities are simple – family and keeping everybody healthy. “And CalvertHealth has been a big part of that,” said Mary Smolinski. The mother of three, who has 13 grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren, is the glue that keeps it all together. “We have been so blessed, I just feel like I want to share with others.”

They feel strongly about the importance of private rooms for patients. So, they decided to dedicate a private room in the new patient tower at CMHC to their mothers – Alice Smolinski and Ruth Krell.

Both women were born in 1915 and went back to work after raising their children; Ruth in the White House as a phone operator and Alice in the Washington Navy Yard. They married Marines that fought in World War II and had long, happy marriages until their husbands passed.

In the 1990s, they came to live on Don and Mary’s 55-acre farm on the Patuxent River. In their later years, they enjoyed cruises and road trips with family. Some of their favorite times were spent having afternoon tea in the gazebo overlooking the river.

“We were so grateful to have them both with us into their 90s,” said Mary, “and appreciate the excellent care they received.”
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