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Centennials, New Leadership and Growth… Joy Gaasch, Chamber President, Is NOCHS New Board President

If you love synchronicity and interesting coincidences, then here’s one you’ll appreciate. North Ottawa Community Hospital opened its doors in 1919 thanks to the generous gift of William Hatton,who donated his home for the first Grand Haven hospital. He was also president of the Chamber that year.  Fast-forward to 2019. NOCHS is celebrating its 100th birthday, and who is taking over the leadership of our board? Joy Gaasch, the current president of the Chamber!

There’s a reason why the Chamber and the hospital are so closely linked…

“Business leaders originally formed the Board of Trade in 1899 (renamed Chamber of Commerce in 1916) to recruit new industry to the region,” Joy says. “They were creating economic drivers for long-term sustainability and growth of the community. It’s no wonder that Mr. Hatton, himself a prominent business leader, was also a staunch supporter of accessible healthcare. It’s an important part of a great place to live, just like quality schools, neighborhoods and recreation.”

Joy’s original interest in serving on the hospital board was due to its economic impact. “NOCHS is one of the largest employers in our area, but it’s even more than that,” she notes. “When people are considering a move to Northwest Ottawa County, they often make the Chamber their first stop. They want to get information about the community. It’s in our best interest to have a nice big ‘Yes’

That’s not always the case for small towns. “We all say we want excellent healthcare, but it’s easy to take it for granted,” she notes. “I serve on the board because I believe the hospital is important to our continued economic vitality. However, I never really thought about what impact my personal choices make on the hospital. In a system that’s as complex as healthcare, with so many governmental regulations, we need to support what we have if we want it to remain viable.” to share when they ask if we have local healthcare!”

As Joy comes into her new role, she is excited about the role the hospital plays in healthy living. “We should be really proud of our hospital,” she says. “The way they redesigned the Emergency Room a few years ago, with the emphasis on addressing mental health needs, is an important thing that a lot of other communities are not doing. They’re at the Farmer’s Market. They’re in the schools. NOCHS is taking a comprehensive approach to wellness and I’m excited about the role we can play in this community going forward.”

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