MOREHEAD, Ky. - Care for children at St. Claire Regional Medical Center received a major boost today, with the announcement of the largest gift ever to the St. Claire Foundation.
The estate of the late Ruth Maxine Browning of Olive Hill is giving the Foundation approximately $650,000 to support pediatric services at St. Claire Regional (SCR).
"Ms. Browning's generosity is overwhelming," said Mark J. Neff, SCR President/CEO. "But we view this not as a gift to St. Claire Regional, but as a gift to the thousands of children in our service region who deserve the best possible medical care."
Browning died in March 2010 at the age of 94. She was born in Carter County in 1915. She had worked as a teacher and farmer in Colorado and Indiana before returning to Olive Hill after the death of her second husband, according to Olive Hill attorney Michael Fox, who helped Browning prepare her will.
"She expressed to me that as a teacher, she had been very distraught over a number of students who had cleft palates," Fox said. "She told me that she wanted the money that she had saved to help children like the ones she had taught."
Fox said Browning lived simply in a modest home, and he was surprised when he discovered that her estate was worth approximately $2 million.
"She was very modest, very humble," he said.
After some bequests to individuals and churches, Fox said Browning decided to divide the bulk of her estate among St. Claire Regional and two other organizations that treat children. The Shriners Hospitals for Children received a gift from the Browning estate in July. The third gift has not yet been announced.
SCR offers a wide array of pediatric services, including family medicine; physical, occupational and speech therapy; mental health services/child psychiatry; inpatient acute care; telemedicine; home health; surgery; emergency medicine; and educational programs through the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center.
"The Sisters of Notre Dame, St. Claire Regional's sponsors, share Ms. Browning's particular concern for the health and well-being of children," said Tom Lewis, St. Claire Foundation Executive Director. "We are so grateful for Ms. Browning's gift, and the representatives of her estate can be sure that we will fully honor her wishes."
While Browning's gift will benefit a number of children's services at SCR, one anticipated use will be the expansion and enhancement of the St. Claire TeleCare Network to serve schools in western Carter County, Lewis said.
The St. Claire Foundation was established in 2000 as SCR's fundraising arm. For information on how to make a gift to the Foundation, call (606) 783-6512, email email@example.com, or visit www.st-claire.org and click on the Foundation link.