Roy Exum: Siskin’s Vow: ‘Yes, You Can!’

Friday, May 3, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I will never forget the day a brother and sister in North Georgia finally confronted their aging Pop and told him, as gently as two who loved their father ever could, that the time had come to take his car keys away. Their dad looked at both of them morosely, walked in his bedroom in a way they thought he was fetching his keys, and came out with his pistol. He shot both his children in their knees.

Siskin Hospital believes they have a better idea and this Saturday morning they intend to prove it. In what is called “Drive Safe Chattanooga,” the world-renowned hospital’s staff will gather at the North River Civic Center on Executive Drive behind the Northgate Mall and offer free screenings, free clinics and free advice to anyone who shows up from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. (rain or shine)

But there is a catch: When Don Lindsey speaks at 11 a.m., he’ll tell you how to “Keep Your Keys” and that – quite wonderfully – is much more of what Siskin Hospital is really about. The hospital is in the process of launching a dazzling new publicity campaign based on three words: “Yes You Can!” and I just love it.

For instance, there is David Wilson, the kid who was trapped under 28 feet of horror after a tornado flattened his dorm at Union University in 2008. Five hours later, when they dug him out, his legs were crushed and mangled in such a jigsaw he was told he would never walk again. Today, because of Siskin Hospital, he can climb mountains.

Then there is Megan Trussell, who at age 25 had a stroke that was so crafty she was first sent to a mental hospital. In what ought to be officially registered as a miracle, Siskin Hospital turned her into a beautiful bride who today has two children. Yes you can become a bride.

Carolyn Raborn and her husband had just built the house of their dreams when a tragic car wreck killed her Sam and left her paralyzed from the waist down. But instead of losing her life, she began living it and is today one of Siskin Hospital’s most beautiful volunteers. Not long ago she took her grandchildren to the Aquarium all by herself. She you can become a grandmother!

Jimmie Baker, a retired New York City cop, moved to Chattanooga in search of the perfect place for his wife Deanna but suffered a massive stroke. After months of inpatient and outpatient care and even learning to say “I love you,” Officer Baker is back in the fulltime business of living his retirement. Yes you can continue your dreams.

Barry Horn, a skilled cabinet craftsman, broke his leg in 2007 and the thing never healed. After it was finally amputated, Siskin Hospital taught him not only to walk and function on his prosthesis, but gave him the courage and the self-worth to volunteer at the hospital so that he can help others like those who just lost their legs in the Boston explosions. Bad things happen but Barry will be the first to promise: Yes you can go back to work.

Don’t you see, Siskin Hospital is a place for living, not giving up or giving in when the dark clouds gather. ”What’s that about?” says the hospital’s biggest cheerleader, CEO Bob Main. Every day Siskin Hospital “reports” to 200 people – its in-house and out-patients – and the miracles flow like the Tennessee River.

Then there is more. Yesterday afternoon Bob Main joined a crowd of other Siskin Hospital employees to tackle a house being built by Habitat for Humanity on Curtis Street. There’s a catch to that, too. Carolyn, one of the women who works at Siskin, will get to live there and it will be the first house she, a grandmother, has ever had. Yes you can help build a house!

Megan Morris, then a 13-year-old from Polk County, was struck by a beastly disease called Transverse Myelitis, which devastates one’s spinal cord. Her single mom, who has an autistic younger son, was equally devastated because everything looked hopeless so Siskin Hospital, in the long months that followed – I want you to get this right – became Megan’s mom when she was unable to be with her daughter. This fall Megan was chosen as Polk County’s Homecoming Queen and last week was named as the Prom Queen. Yes you can become a queen!

Is it any wonder why I have trouble with my durn allergies when I hear so many voices say “Because of Siskin Hospital, I CAN.”

Don’t fret about Saturday’s “Drive Safe Chattanooga” because the possibilities, as Siskin has shown us for years, are absolutely endless. They’ll even have ageless Luther Masingill – now 91 – to help with the fun and informative event but it is his wish nobody bring any pistols because, with what is being offered by experts like Gina DelGardo and Heather McBrayer, yes you can keep your keys!

royexum@aol.com

 



Will God Still Bless America?

Our homeland is in peril Dire straits no doubt Contempt for each other Voiced in scornful shout  We must desire to reconcile Our differences posthaste Beg the Lord for one last chance To earn his saving grace  We need to bind our wounds and heal Before the end is neigh How many tears must we spill Before our soul runs dry?  Heavenly Father, ... (click for more)

It's Been A Good Run

Six years ago, I made the decision to run for the Georgia State House and enter the world of state politics. It has been a challenging and daunting experience for which I am very thankful. It led me to national and international involvement for the state, meeting many interesting people of differing ideologies. Sharing ideas with both parties and listening to their views enabled ... (click for more)

Funeral Service For John P. Franklin Will Be Friday; Public Memorial Service Is Thursday Night

Funeral services will be Friday for John P. Franklin, Chattanooga's first elected black official in the post Jim Crow era. Mr. Franklin died Thursday at the age of 96. He will lie in state in the chapel of John P. Franklin Funeral Home from noon until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday,. Public viewing will resume at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Olivet Baptist Church, and a ... (click for more)

Woman, 20, Killed While Trying To Cross Highway 153 Early Sunday Morning

A woman, 20, was killed early Sunday morning while trying to cross Highway 153. The victim was identified as Ansleigh Kaylyn Harrison. At approximately 1:28 a.m. , Chattanooga Police officers responded to a pedestrian struck at 5256 Highway 153. A Toyota Sequoia driven by 31-year-old Asher Powers was traveling north on Highway 153 in the inside lane. The pedestrian ... (click for more)

Chris Douglas Wins Waterfront Triathlon Sunday

More than a thousand trim and fit men and women gathered at Ross’s Landing Sunday morning for the annual Waterfront Triathlon with McKenzie’s Kirsten Sass the only one of four defending champs to successfully defend her title. There were two races held on Sunday, including a sprint event that included a 400-meter swim, a 12-mile bike ride and a 5K run.   The longer intermediate ... (click for more)

UT Athletics Department To Host Tribute To John Ward On Wednesday

  The University of Tennessee Athletics Department and The Vol Network are hosting a Tribute to "The Voice" event honoring John Ward on Wednesday, June 27, starting at 6 p.m. ET at Thompson-Boling Arena. The legendary broadcasting and marketing icon passed away this week following a lengthy illness. He was 88. Wednesday's event will take on a celebratory ... (click for more)