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Western Maryland Hospital Center dedicates N. Linn Hendershot therapeutic garden

September 17, 2011|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • The family members of N. Linn Hendershot unveil a stone in a new healing garden, Saturday at Western Maryland Hospital Center dedicated in memory of Hendershot.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

The tranquil setting makes it the kind of place where patients, staff and visitors can go to meditate or take a break from the stresses of life.

It's the kind of place where flowers and dreams can blossom.

It's the kind of place that would have pleased the late N. Linn Hendershot.

About 100 people gathered Saturday afternoon at the Western Maryland Hospital Center to dedicate a therapeutic garden that bears Hendershot's name.

As a patient and, later, an employee of the long-term care facility, it was his wish to expand the gardens on the hospital's grounds, said Will Godwin, chairman of the garden committee of the Western Maryland Hospital Center Auxiliary.

Following his death in 2008, the hospital began considering a memorial for Hendershot, Godwin said.

"It was decided that a therapeutic garden would be a fitting way to honor him," he said.

Hendershot, who used a ventilator and a wheelchair, was stricken with polio as a child. He came to the Western Maryland Hospital Center in 1997 and, upon leaving in 1998, was hired as director of communications.

He also served on the Hagerstown City Council and was an advocate for people with disabilities.

Hendershot had helped in efforts to add gardens to the hospital grounds, and took the lead in finding funds and volunteers to maintain them, Godwin said.

"He would absolutely be thrilled that we've dedicated a garden in his name," Godwin said. "He'd think we did good."

The garden includes four symmetrical flower beds, as well as benches and a brick pathway that is wheelchair accessible. It was designed by Donna Brightman, a local landscaper, who volunteered her work for the project.

There also is a plaque bearing the image of Hendershot, which is affixed to a rock at the site.

Godwin said the garden cost approximately $60,000 to build and was made possible by donations and volunteer work from businesses and individuals.

"This was not a state project," he said.

Godwin said "there is pretty solid research which shows that patients who get outside of a hospital and work with plants require less drugs and heal faster."

"It's our goal that patients and visitors alike will enjoy the garden area. But the most important thing is good health," he said.

Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Hendershot's sister, Marion Hardin, thanked the crowd for attending and noted, "Linn's energy, enthusiasm and drive were an inspiration to so many in this community."

"I'm sure he's looking down on us today from heaven, proud of the work that's been done with the seeds he planted along the way," she said.

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