Community News, Foundation

Longtime Fayette Board Member Prepares to Step Away

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Nearly 15 years ago, Roger Kirkpatrick was approached about becoming one of the original 15 board members to serve on what was then known as the Fayette County Memorial Hospital Foundation.

With a history of community service behind him, the Kirkpatrick Funeral Home director found the offer appealing.

“I’ve always been interested in community service and I’d had a lot of contact with the hospital over the years as a funeral director,” Roger said. “So I was just willing to help out any way I could.”

Now, as the calendar turns to 2024, the 75-year-old is stepping away from the board of what is now the Fayette County arm of the Adena Health Foundation to allow someone new to serve. His departure leaves Vanessa Blevins as the last of the original 15 members still holding a seat on the board.

Those original members, Roger said, formed a very solid core from which to launch the foundation. Each was very involved in the community and knew a number of people who could contribute to what the board was trying to accomplish. The goal: To provide financial and other support for hospital programs and services.

Providing support for hospital operations is critical for communities such as Washington Court House, Roger said, and over his years on the board, the community has responded well.

“The hospital is one of the mainstays of the community,” he said. “If we don’t have a hospital here, I think we’d suffer both in terms of industry and business. Whenever new businesses are looking to come to town, they always inquire about the hospital. Plus, as an individual, when you need a hospital, you need it in a hurry and it needs to be here.”

The board, with that community support, has contributed to a number of significant improvements since its founding. Among them:

  • More than $200,000 raised in support of a women’s wellness center.
  • A remodeling of the hospital’s emergency department waiting room and patient registration station.
  • Helping to fund a new 3D mammography unit for what is now Adena Fayette Medical Center.
  • Purchasing five telemetry units during the COVID-19 pandemic that helped keep patients close to home when previously they would have to be transferred for telemetry services.
  • A variety of other purchases for hospital departments, including the emergency department, surgery, cancer care and others.

In order to accomplish those things, successful fundraising is needed. Roger, who believes in a “rolling up your sleeves and pitching in” approach to volunteering, has been among the board members who have done just that. He’s personally been involved with stuffing bags and distributing food through what was an annual breakfast fundraiser, helps decorate for the annual fundraising gala, has assisted at other fundraising events, and continues to be a vocal ambassador for the local hospital.

He also played an active role in one of the more creative gala events – a virtual evening of wine tasting when the COVID-19 pandemic prevented in-person activities from taking place. Roger helped assemble bags of wine and snacks and delivered a few of those to people who agreed to take part in the virtual gala.

“It was a difficult time for everyone,” he said. “Still, people signed up for it and we had bags of wine and a charcuterie board they could pick up at the hospital and then we had someone online during the event who helped us learn more about the wine we were drinking. We just had to improvise, and it worked out really well.”

Roger’s community service has extended well beyond his work on the hospital board. Following the example set by his father, also a funeral home director involved in the community, Roger served on the Fayette County Historical Society’s board of directors for 25 years, with the Boy Scouts for about 25 years, as treasurer of his church for 25 years, and with the Kiwanis Club for about 50 years. He feels it is important to find time to volunteer.

“I just look for ways to make the time,” he said. “I work a lot at the funeral home, and volunteering also was a way to get me out of the funeral home doing something I really enjoy.”

He also takes a great deal of pride in the work the hospital board has been able to do over the years and in the support members of the community have shown.

“It’s not easy asking people for money, but people here have been really receptive and we’ve done a lot better than we thought we’d do when we first started,” Roger said. “We’ve been very pleased with that.”

To learn more about how you can make a tax-deductible donation to the Adena Health Foundation and request it be used in Fayette County, visit or call 740-779-7528.