WMHS breaks ground on Center for Hope and Healing

Submitted photo
Helping break ground for the Western Maryland Health System’s Center for Hope and Healing were, from left to right, Shelley Waugh, Lakeside Architecture; Kevin Turley, WMHS chief strategy officer; Ray Morriss, mayor of Cumberland; state Sen. George Edwards; Barry Ronan, WMHS president & CEO; Mark Widmyer, western Maryland representative for Gov. Larry Hogan; Julie Davis, president, WMHS Auxiliary; Sherry Schmidt, immediate past president, WMHS Auxiliary; Carl Belt of Carl Belt Inc.; Jimmy Pyle, director, Allegany County Emergency Services; Carissa Rodeheaver, WMHS board of directors; Karen Johnson, executive director, WMHS Foundation; and Jeff O’Neal, executive director, WMHS Clinics, Practices & Behavioral Health.

CUMBERLAND, Md. — Western Maryland Health System recently broke ground on the Center for Hope and Healing, a 24-hour residential treatment facility that will house patients with substance abuse and behavioral health issues.

Approximately 40 guests attended the groundbreaking, including State Sen. George Edwards; Mark Widmyer representing Gov. Larry Hogan; Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss and James Pyles, Allegany County Emergency Services director.

Several of the dignitaries and partners joined WMHS President and CEO Barry Ronan to ceremoniously lift the first shovel of dirt on the project.

The center will be adjacent to the WMHS main campus, and will be built on land gifted to WMHS from the state.

Funding for the project is largely attributed to a $1 million pledge from the WMHS Auxiliary, including an initial gift of $400,000 made in May.

Auxiliary President Julie Davis, who works as the fire administration officer for the Cumberland Fire Department, said at the time of the initial gift, “I see the impact this crisis has on a daily basis. I see how it taxes our emergency service providers. We were all unanimously in favor of facing this challenge and supporting a valuable asset that will effectively address the need.”

Speaking at the groundbreaking, Ronan told guests how appreciative WMHS is of the contributions that were made, and Foundation Executive Director Karen Johnson called the center a huge gift to the community that will make an impact well worth the investment.

Ronan said he anticipates the project to be completed in late spring 2020. Patients will stay roughly 10 days, and approximately 10 employees will staff the center.