Barry and Gail Eveland, both former nurses at Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville, appreciated the need for such a place to be created and donated $250,000 to the Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville Foundation to make the project possible.
“Our nursing careers here were a very important time in our lives and have inspired Gail and I to give back to this hospital,” said Eveland. “My time working on this Critical Care Unit made a lasting impression on my life. I would spend my lunch break in this very garden area to eat and take a deep breath away from the beeps and buzzers that were constant reminders of how ill the patients are while they are here,” added Eveland.
The Evelands want this new garden to have that same impact on today’s employees, patients and families. “I know how hard everyone here is working to give the absolute best care possible to every patient and this space is to give them a place of serenity and peace,” said Barry.
Both were very emotional as they gave their remarks in front of family and friends that were gathered to help celebrate their generous gift. Gail stated, “I am grateful to be able to give this garden to a place that has such a special place in my heart.”
The staff and families of patients will now have a quiet and thriving place to get fresh air and take a moment to relax during the day. The former garden area was removed during renovations of the Critical Care Unit several years ago. It had become overgrown and the paved walkway and drainage system was in need of repairs.
Now the garden features three large raised planters, beautiful flower pots, a safe paved surface for walking and wheelchairs, as well as benches for enjoying the sunshine.
Keisha Putman, a nurse on the Critical Care Unit, shared the story of a recent patient that was able to enjoy the new garden. “We had a patient with us that had received a terminal diagnosis. She was sharing her life story with some of her care team and related that she had enjoyed an amazing life,” Putman said.
“She shared with us that her very favorite thing to do when she was young was to lay in her yard and watch the clouds. She had wonderful memories associated with this simple act. Later that day, she transitioned herself into hospice care and was to be transferred upstairs. On the way, we took her out into this garden in her hospital bed so she could enjoy the clouds one last time. God must have planned on her coming because the clouds were beautiful that day.”
“To hear stories like Keisha’s and the other nurses in the hospital inspires us to want to make a difference where we can,” stated Eveland. “A gift that can impact others in such a meaningful way is as much a blessing to Gail and me as it is to those that receive it.”
The hospital is thankful for donors like Barry and Gail Eveland that believe in the power of philanthropy and helping to meet the needs of the community.
“We are grateful for the Eveland’s donation and for their continuous support of our organization. Gifts like this one allow us to provide quality healthcare to our friends and family while doing our best to make sure they have a great experience at the same time,” said Ashley Galvan, Philanthropy Development Officer at Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville Foundation.
The Eveland Serenity Garden is located just down the hall from the hospital’s Chapel and is adjacent to the Critical Care waiting area.