The Town of Benson recognized last Thursday Nov. 16th as National Rural Health Day with an official proclamation and dedication at Benson Area Medical Center.
Mayor William Massengill, who is also CEO of Benson Area Medical Center (BAMC), presented the proclamation to a room full of doctors and nurses, as well as Representative Larry Strickland and the BAMC Board.
“Health care is an important economic driver in many rural North Carolina communities and meeting the unique healthcare needs of our citizens is constantly evolving, as rural communities face accessibility challenges, a lack of healthcare providers, an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of uninsured and underinsured citizens,” the Mayor read from the proclamation.
Many in Benson, he continued, realized the need for more doctors in the community during the late 1970s and began taking the steps to bring them in — Benson Area Medical Center was one of the first to do so.
“Today, we know we are taking care of a lot of people that would otherwise find it difficult to get healthcare,” he said, adding that BAMC currently serves more than 12,000 patients.
One of the key supporters in getting the BAMC plan off the ground and more doctors into the area was also recognized.
“Jean Dale Lee, a Benson native, was an instrumental partner in the establishment of Benson Area Medical Center in 1978, spending many hours in the establishment of this non-profit medical practice. She has continued to give of her time and talents to Benson Area Medical Center, continuing to serve as a member of the Board of Directors,” read Mayor Massengill with Ms. Lee by his side.
“(She) has seen the need for a healthcare facility, which serves all of the residents of the Benson area community and continues to assure that the healthcare needs of our rural residents is still being met,” the Mayor continued. “I recognize Jean Dale Lee for outstanding contributions to the healthcare of Benson area residents and I encourage citizens to honor her for her work and dedication to our residents and celebrate our rural community as a wonderful place to live and work.”
“The work I have done on this board has been very fulfilling,” Ms. Lee said, addressing the room. “Because every little thing we did, I felt like I was helping somebody.”