Baptist Calhoun is best known in the community for its 120-bed nursing home. For several years, Mary Lee Whitt, Baptist Calhoun nursing home administrator, has been working to improve its courtyard. Bids had been received from several companies over the years but none within a reasonable price range. In October 2018, Whitt submitted a grant request after getting a competitive bid from a company that had experience working with nursing homes and similar spaces. The Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation approved the request.
“God’s will and timing really played a huge role here,” explained Whitt.
For a variety of reasons, the courtyard came to fruition this fall. One of the nursing home residents, 51-year-old Linda, was very invested in getting the courtyard repaired. Prior to moving to the nursing home, Linda enjoyed gardening and spending time outdoors. This fall, she started chemotherapy, which caused her hair to fall out. One day while gardening in preparation for the Fall Festival, she made the decision to shave her head with Whitt’s help. She went right back outside to continue tending to the plants, undeterred by her chemo and its side effects.
“The courtyard came at a time when Linda needed it most,” said Whitt. “God had his hand in it.”
The landscaping included perennial plants and flowers in addition to new rocking chairs and gliders used by residents and visitors. A local family filled the courtyard with Christmas lights and blow-ups for the holidays.
“The courtyard is the center of life for a lot of our residents,” said Collin Cheek, administrator and CEO of Baptist Calhoun. “The nursing home and its new courtyard is a perfect example of how Baptist’s mission of healing, preaching and teaching is at work in our community.”