Not only was the genesis of Loma Linda University extraordinary but so also were the beginnings of many other church-related medical institutions. Ellen White had written, "Our sanitariums are to be established for one object, the advancement of present truth. And they are to be so conducted that a decided impression in favor of the truth will be made on the minds of those who come to them for treatment. The conduct of the workers, from the head manager to the worker occupying the humblest position, is to tell on the side of truth.... We have a warning message to bear to the world, and our earnestness, our devotion to God's service, is to impress those who come to our [medical institutions]."1
"No Thank You, Sir"
Just such an impression was made on Henry M. Porter, once a rider on the Pony Express, later a banker from Denver, Colorado. While visiting his daughter, a resident of Pasadena, California, he was debilitated by a serious cold. At his daughter's suggestion, Porter went to the nearby Glendale Sanitarium (now Glendale Adventist Medical Center) for hydrotherapy treatment. After the treatment, Porter offered the boy who gave the treatment a dollar tip. The boy declined, saying that it would not be right to accept further payment in addition to his sanitarium earnings. Years later, while spending the winter near San Diego, Porter again contracted a serious cold. Remembering his experience in the Glendale Sanitarium, he asked whether a similar institution existed nearby. He was told of the Paradise Valley Sanitarium (now Paradise Valley Hospital).
A Lasting Impression
While a patient there, every day he opened his door a crack so that, without being seen, he could watch the unfailing kindness of a student nurse feeding an old man who had Parkinson's disease. She never knew that her tender care was being observed. Porter soon recovered and returned home. In a few days he was surprised to receive a letter of apology and explanation from the Sanitarium business office and a check for 45 cents. It seemed that the books had not balanced at the end of the week (bookkeeping was done by hand in the 1920s), and the error, traced to Porter's account, showed he had been overcharged 45 cents.
Porter replied on February 12, 1928:
"Dear Sir: Your letter of [the] 10th with check for 45 cents received, and I thank you for it and return it to you for credit [to] your general fund. I feel I have underpaid you for all your kind and careful treatment and attention, and I owe you all a debt of gratitude for the kind consideration while with you. Mrs. Porter and I are well, and I am gaining strength daily. With our regards and best wishes to you all. Yours sincerely, [signed] H. M. Porter"
The letter was acknowledged and the account closed. Porter, however, did not consider it closed. The small examples of integrity had made a deep and lasting impression, and he wrote a second letter of gratitude on April 16, 1928. In his last paragraph he asked: "Can you give me the address of the general manager of your various corporations, as I would like to correspond with him in regard to establishing a like institution in Denver."
The correspondence and later conversations led to a gift of $330,000 by Porter and his daughter Dora Porter Mason, for the establishment of Porter Sanitarium and Hospital (now Porter Memorial Hospital) on a 40-acre tract in south Denver. Before the Sanitarium and Hospital was completed, another $50,000 was given to build a nurses' home. The Porter family continued to make frequent and substantial donations for the capital improvement of the institution. After Mr. and Mrs. Porter died, their son Will annually remembered the institution. He also left the institution over a million dollars in his will. Porter Memorial Hospital, the child of the Glendale and Paradise Valley Sanitariums, is not only a monument to the generosity of the Porter family but a tribute to the nursing student who tenderly fed the old man, an unidentified boy who refused a dollar tip, an employee who returned a 45-cent overpayment, and many others quietly acting without thought of special notice or reward, unconsciously reflecting the kindness and compassion of the God who causes love to grow and multiply.
Patience, Buckets, and Puppets
In 1945 citizens of Hackettstown, New Jersey, decided to build a hospital. But initial interest dropped until 1953, when they renewed serious discussions. Two years later, in May 1955, 21 men and women signed the instrument of incorporation for the Hackettstown Community Hospital. During 1956 the board of trustees purchased 15 acres of land on a major thoroughfare near the center of the local population. They contacted voluntary planning agencies and studied state licensing requirements. They met with service clubs, professional societies, municipal governments, and others. They were willing to work hard to fulfill their dream. But the great obstacle was lack of funds.
And then in the fall of 1967, the president of a Hackettstown bank was speaking with a Seventh-day Adventist minister when the conversation turned to the worldwide chain of church-operated hospitals. The banker had just suggested that the church build a hospital in Hackettstown when a trustee of the corporation planning to build the hospital entered the bank. The discussion that followed resulted in a major breakthrough. The hospital board invited the church's Columbia Union Conference to build and assume ownership and management of the Hackettstown Community Hospital. The Seventh-day Adventist church accepted the invitation and pledged $750,000. The cost of the proposed hospital was estimated at $4 million. Industry and commerce joined with professional groups and local residents. Within a few months they had raised $1,250,000. In May 1969, the proposed hospital received a grant of $500,000 from the United States Public Health Service.
In the summer of 1968, William H. Rossy, vice president of the hospital board, conceived a novel feature for the local fund-raising project: Operation Coin Toss. On weekends volunteers with plastic buckets were stationed along Route 46 where heavy traffic funneled through Hackettstown. The "Bucket Brigade" collected $101,000 from passing motorists. Four hundred local volunteers, sometimes dressed as accident victims, gave a total of 5,600 man-hours to Operation Coin Toss.
But by the time construction began, costs had risen from the original $4-million estimate to $6 million. The community and local governmental agencies and industries rallied. And the church, with the help of New Jersey Adventists, increased its original pledge of $750,000 to $1,250,000.
Officials at the M&M/Mars Candy Company, before deciding whether to support the Adventist-operated hospital, sent representatives to Loma Linda University to evaluate Seventh-day Adventist medical and administrative capabilities. Satisfied, the company pledged $250,000 on condition that the church control the board and operate the hospital. Three other large contributions were made with the same stipulations. The Kresge Foundation donated $100,000. The town of Hackettstown and the Warren County Freeholders pledged $100,000 each. The Elastimold Division of Amerace-Esna gave $70,000; Panther Valley, Inc., $50,000; Cooke Color and Chemical, $75,000; People's Trust of New Jersey, $42,000; Ashland Oil Foundation, $40,000. Daniel W. Allen, a retired dairy farmer and first president of the hospital's board of trustees, donated $62,500, the largest amount given by one person. His will left almost $500,000 to the new hospital.
Other individuals participated. One little boy gave $1.40 of his hard-earned cash. Three young boys conducted a neighborhood fair that yielded a profit of $12 for the hospital fund. Two little girls staged a puppet show which netted $1.
On August 12, 1970, ground was broken. In 1955 the original plans had called for a 60-bed hospital at a cost of $350,000. When opened on February 4, 1973, the new 106-bed hospital represented an investment of $7.5 million. The local community had raised $2.7 million. On January 4, 1971, a Civic Advisory Council was formed to continue active local participation and to provide liaison between the board of trustees and a broad section of the community.
Today the Hackettstown Community Hospital, about two hours from New York's Manhattan Island, serves residents amid the rolling hills of New Jersey's lake country. It is a tribute to men and women who had the will and energy to make a hope a reality.
A Dentist's Dream
Dr. Herbert Taylor Huguley, a man of many interests, was a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy during World War II, a concert violinist, and for 34 years a dentist. A bachelor immersed in his profession, he was a big-hearted man, the kind who often refused to bill needy patients for his professional services. And he had big dreams. He planned to do something truly significant for God and humanity. He also wanted to build a memorial to his parents--both members of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Although not a member, he considered himself an Adventist "at heart" and often visited church services and the yearly Texas camp meetings in Keene, especially during his later years.
Huguley shared his dream with relatives and close friends. He envisioned building a large Seventh-day Adventist hospital with an educational program for nurses. To fulfill his dream, Huguley gave the church some real estate in Dallas. At the time of his death in May 1967, the property was estimated to be worth $3-4 million. Since money could be made available through the sale of this property, church leaders began searching for a suitable location for a new hospital in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area.
Early in 1972 civic, business, and professional leaders of Fort Worth, learning of the bequest, immediately initiated discussions with church officials and urged them to locate the institution in Fort Worth. They predicated their invitation on three important factors: "community need, availability of initial funds, and the recognized worldwide standing and competence of Seventh-day Adventists in the health field." While legal details were delaying implementation of the project (until October 1974), the value of the land greatly appreciated. By the time all the properties had been sold in early 1976, the real estate had appreciated to $7 million--double the value of nine years earlier.
Huguley would have been pleased to see today's Huguley Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Medical Center, named in honor of his parents. Grand-opening ceremonies for the 220-bed, $16.5-million community hospital were held February 20, 1977. Located on 250 acres of land at the southern city limit of Fort Worth, Texas, on Interstate 35W, its campus facilities include a nursing home and retirement center. It is also the clinical facility for the nursing and allied health educational programs of the nearby Southwestern Adventist University in Keene. Hugley's Health Fitness Center is the largest single-site fitness center in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.
More Than Routine Care
In 1949 a polio epidemic struck Chicago. Hospitals were overcrowded, and many, lacking equipment to care for the younger polio patients, referred them to the county hospital. The Seventh-day Adventist Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital near Chicago had a well-equipped department of physical medicine. Its hydrotherapy facilities were uniquely suited to treat polio.
Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Kettering lived near the Sanitarium in Hinsdale, an exclusive suburb of Chicago. Eugene was the only son of a vice president of General Motors Corporation, Charles F. Kettering. (The senior Kettering's inventions have changed the American way of life. Among them are the automotive self-starter, quick-drying paints, safety glass, and ethyl gasoline.) When children of some of the Ketterings' close friends contracted polio, they were brought to the Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital for care. Mrs. Kettering frequently visited her little friends. A careful observer, she saw that the children were receiving much more than routine care. "She saw tenderness, dedication, unusual concern,...a firm belief in a loving God.... She saw nurses pray with praying mothers and weep by the bedside of little children with weeping fathers. She watched as nurses forgot mealtimes and changing shifts" to continue their loving attentions to their patients.2 In time the epidemic subsided, but the experience lingered in her memory.
As a result, under the leadership and liberal support of the Ketterings, a community campaign raised over a million dollars to completely rebuild Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital into a modern 195-bed hospital.
Memorial to an Ingenious Father
Years later, after Charles F. Kettering passed away, Eugene and his wife decided to build a hospital as a memorial to his father. As they considered who would have the experience and the resources to successfully operate a healthcare institution, they immediately thought of their Adventist friends at Hinsdale. They decided to build the institution in Kettering, Ohio (the suburb of Dayton which bore Charles's name), and to give it to the Seventh-day Adventist church to be operated on the same basis as the Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital. Negotiations with the Sanitarium, the Columbia Union Conference, and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ultimately gave the church ownership and responsibility for the new institution
To enlist the financial support of his friends, Kettering took three planeloads of industrialists, bankers, a physician, and leading citizens of Dayton to the Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital to observe the operation of a representative Seventh-day Adventist hospital. When they returned to Dayton, Kettering invited his friends to a meeting where he suggested enlarging the proposed hospital to 400 beds. He offered to match their gifts if they would raise $1.5 million for the project. After Kettering spoke, the president of National Cash Register Company and a vice president of General Motors, seconding Kettering's remarks, described the selfless service of those who worked in Adventist hospitals around the world. In 20 minutes the group pledged $1.5 million toward construction of the hospital.
The Ketterings had originally planned to build a 100-bed facility. But a survey of community health needs--and the strong support from community leaders and friends of the Ketterings--led them to build the 400-bed hospital. It was officially opened on February 16, 1964.
Today the 522-bed Charles F. Kettering Memorial Hospital is a monument to the man who, during his lifetime, was awarded 36 honorary doctoral degrees and 56 national and international awards for his many accomplishments and inventions. It is also a monument to unidentified nurses who missed their meals to care for the children with polio--a monument to the Spirit of God who Himself inspires every act of loving service.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, as the suburban community of Hinsdale grew, the Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital was no longer large enough to meet the needs of those who sought its services. So the community raised additional funds and, with a gift of $1 million from the Ketterings, expanded the Hinsdale hospital to 356 beds, and, in 1975, with additional community support, to 440 beds.
An Educational Center
In very practical ways, Charles F. Kettering was interested in helping young people obtain skills, knowledge, and wisdom which would prepare them for meaningful lives. Continuing this practical interest, when Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Kettering reserved 35 acres of the family estate for the proposed Kettering Memorial Hospital, they specified that it "must be an educational center as well as a medical service center, involved in preparing young people for satisfying lives of service here and in other institutions of the world."
In 1965 a corporate structure--Kettering Medical Center--was organized. The Kettering Memorial Hospital became its clinical division and the Kettering College of Medical Arts its educational division. The College opened its doors in September 1967 to 100 students, and in 2004 to 700. Today Kettering College of Medical Arts offers a general liberal arts education leading to specialized curriculums in a variety of hospital and paramedical healthcareers, including a physician's assistant program.
In the early 1970s, Ridgeleigh Terrace, a ten-acre wooded hill with the Kettering mansion at the summit was given to the medical center. It is used for administrative offices and special gatherings. Another $2.5 million was given to develop a modern mental health unit. The generosity of the Kettering family continues to inspire and support expanding medical services and healthcare facilities.
The Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center
The 548-bed, $79,000,000 Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center was dedicated in Loma Linda, Sunday, September 25, 1977. It was named for Congressman Jerry L. Pettis, the first Seventh-day Adventist to become a United States Congressman. The dedication address was made by his widow, Congresswoman Shirley N. Pettis. The congressman was killed in the crash of his private plane on February 14, 1975.
Pettis was a Seventh-day Adventist minister, founder of Audio-Digest Foundation (a subsidiary of the California Medical Association), flight instructor, search-and-rescue pilot for the Civil Air Patrol, pilot for the Air Transport Command during World War II, professor of economics, Loma Linda University vice president for public relations and development, owner of a citrus ranch, inventor, and philanthropist. As a United States Congressman from California, Pettis worked devotedly for his district and his country. He is regarded as the primary influence in motivating the Veterans Administration to build a new hospital in inland Southern California.
The hospital is located on a 34-acre site, approximately one-half mile east of Loma Linda University. It replaces the San Fernando Veterans Hospital, destroyed in February 1971 by an earthquake. The new facility serves almost 300,000 veterans living in five surrounding counties. It is a dream come true for area veterans who had tried unsuccessfully for 50 years to get a hospital built. World War I veterans, suffering from the effects of poison gas and the wounds of war, had settled in the area by the hundreds. The nearest VA hospitals were in Long Beach and West Los Angeles. A VA policy of building its hospitals near medical schools prevented it from building in the area, until, in 1964 Loma Linda University began moving its School of Medicine from East Los Angeles to consolidate in Loma Linda.
Until this time, medical students had received their basic sciences instruction in Loma Linda and their clinical experience in Los Angeles at both the White Memorial Hospital and at the Los Angeles County General Hospital. The consolidation opened the way for Loma Linda to be seriously considered as a VA hospital site. It finally took the move of the School of Medicine, a bitterly contested court battle over another site in Los Angeles, the persistent efforts of area veterans and several Congressmen, and an earthquake, to get the hospital built in Loma Linda. The story is saddened by the tragic death of Congressman Pettis, who, at the time of his fatal crash, was on an errand for the VA hospital that bears his name.
During the dedication ceremonies, United States Senator Alan Cranston told the audience of 4,500: "The structure you see here today is not only the most modern veteran's hospital in America, but one of the most sophisticated hospitals...in the world."3
In her dedication address, Congresswoman Pettis said that she had feelings of satisfaction "because I know how much this hospital will mean to the people it serves and how much it meant to the man whose name it bears."4
John D. Chase, M.D., chief medical director for the Veterans Administration, spoke at the School of Medicine commencement service May 29, 1977. Regarding the new facility he said: "This hospital would not have been erected here except for the interest of the University and the Loma Linda community. Loma Linda [University] has given us the land on which to erect our structure....
"We expect to learn from Loma Linda's dedication and to become stronger in many ways, both here and nationally, from our cooperative relationship.
"But I feel sure the University and its people will gain something, too, by having an additional location for teaching and for learning.... Loma Linda University will have more residents, more interns, and perhaps more medical students at some time in the future, because the new facilities will have pushed back the existing limits on its teaching load.
"The University also will gain in a nonquantitative way. Patients may include some numbers of persons who may be dissimilar to the typical patients admitted to Loma Linda University Medical Center. Some will be persons whose physical or mental disabilities have been with them since a time when they carried arms for their country. Others may be socially, as well as physically, disabled--without family and friends, they come to the VA because they have no one else.
"These patients offer challenges to professional skills. And they may inspire Loma Linda University to extend the heart of its medical evangelism, as well as its educational mind.
"It is interesting, I think, that the VA and Loma Linda [University] have common philosophies of service. The worldwide medical outreach of this University, and the selfless contribution of the men and women trained, are the stuff of modern-day legend.
"But so, too, is the outreach of the Veterans Administration.... We care for the afflicted who come to us--not because they are our friends or customers or because we have chosen them, but because they are in need. There is compassion in our motivation, and in our performance, as there is in Loma Linda's. These outreach philosophies will be linked in a new partnership.
"This University is a reminder to society that we are a moral people living under the commandment to love God and our fellow man....
"My request to those who will soon be leaving Loma Linda, and to those who remain, is a simple one:
"Keep doing what you and your predecessors have done so long and so well. We need you. We need your professional competency in patient care. We need your love of learning. But most of all, we need your dedication to helping people, your warm humanity, the continuing lesson and bright example of your love for your fellowman."5