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Meritus emergency room named for $1 million donor

July 06, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Riggin Buckler "Buck" Luetscher shoots a photo with his tablet Wednesday at Meritus Medical Center as William P. Young Jr. looks on. The Fletcher Emergency Department was named to honor a substantial gift from the Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Foundation. Luetscher is the Fletchers' godson. Young is the foundation's executive director.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — When Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher set up their philanthropic foundation, their intent was to “help individuals overcome illnesses and adversities.”

In a dedication Wednesday afternoon, a medical department that sees more than 90,000 patients a year — regardless of their ability to pay — was named in their honor.

The emergency room at Meritus Medical Center was officially changed to the Fletcher Emergency Department after the Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Foundation donated $1 million for the department.

The Fletchers no longer are living, but Alice Virginia Fletcher’s godson flew to Hagerstown from his home in Sacramento, Calif., for the dedication.

“I think she would be very excited because this will be the doctor for many people who don’t have health insurance,” Riggin Buckler “Buck” Luetscher said.

The Fletchers, who lived in Hagerstown, owned Colonial Hardwood Flooring Co. Their foundation was set up through their wills.

The foundation has helped support other projects in the community, like the Anne G. and Howard S. Kaylor Atrium at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and the new downtown branch of Washington County Free Library.

The new downtown library, which is under construction, also will be named after the Fletchers. Their foundation donated $1 million to that project.

On Wednesday afternoon, Meritus Medical Center officials, Luetscher and William P. Young Jr., the executive director of the foundation, gathered with others in the hospital’s emergency room for the dedication.

The group was led on a tour of the emergency room, which has nearly double the number of patient treatment areas as the former hospital. The visitors also were able to see high-tech features like lighting systems to examine patients.

One hospital official described the extensive work that had to be done to anchor the lights in the hospital. But because they are nitrogen powered, the operator can move them with two fingers.

“I want to thank you guys for your generous donation. It really allowed us to do some really fantastic things here in the emergency room,” said Joan Fortney, administrative director for trauma and emergency services at the hospital.

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