$5 Million Gift From Kennedy Family Puts Erlanger Over The Top For 1st Phase Of New Children's Hospital

Friday, August 10, 2018
Steam train heads for new home at Children's Hospital
Steam train heads for new home at Children's Hospital

A $5 million gift from the Jim Kennedy family has put Erlanger Health Systems over the top for the first phase of its new Children's Hospital.

Officials said it is the largest single gift in Erlanger's history. 

The Kennedy family said Children's Hospital is especially dear to them since Molly Kennedy was born there as a premature baby. She told the group that her parents did not get to see her for the first three months as she was being treated. She said the facility saved her life.

Over 6,000 donors helped raise the $42 million needed for the new outpatient center on 3rd Street across from the main campus. 

The new facility where children will be treated is set to open in four months. 

Kevin Spiegel, Erlanger president and CEO, noted that he had a vision upon his arrival here five years ago for a new world-class hospital for children, replacing the present outmoded one. "People thought I was crazy," he said.

Grady Williams noted that he and Tom Edd Wilson took on the challenge of raising the $42 million. He said Mr. Wilson was present for the groundbreaking on June 6 of last year, but he died of a heart attack a few days later. "We were together every day the week before talking about raising the money," he said.

He said the first big boost for the drive was when Olan and Butch Mills donated $1 million. They were among those present for the dedication. 

Bruce Komiske, who helped oversee the project, also took part in the event. He also designed and built Erlanger's new facility at Gunbarrel Road in East Brainerd. 

At the same ceremony a steam locomotive on loan from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum was to be lifted by crane next to the hospital. 

Crowds lined Third Street as a police escort led a heavy flatbed truck with the engine aboard. The driver somehow made the tight curve at the new facility, then the process began of getting it lifted onto a waiting track. Another rail car had already been put into place.

There will be a roof over the train display and it will be lit at night and outfitted with train sounds. 

Don Mueller, Children's Hospital CEO, said the newly painted train is designed to "try to decrease the anxiety of children as they arrive at the hospital. It will bring joy to kids for many years."

Engine 349 was built in 1891 - the same year Erlanger was founded with a $5,000 gift from railroad executive Baron Erlanger. 

Tim Andrews of the TVRM said the engine at one time was in the back yard of a Macon physician, and his children played on it. When the doctor began looking around for someone to take the historic engine, he turned to the Chattanooga train museum.

It has been on display for many years at the TVRM headquarters. Mr. Andrews said it would have been too expensive to bring it up to standard for again hauling trains.

He said it ran for many years on the Central of Georgia Railroad and may have operated in Chattanooga, though it mainly ran in the South Georgia section of that once venerable line.

More to follow...


Sale Creek Man Charged In Burglary Of ATVs, Other Items

Ellis, 32, Charged With Molesting 13-Year-Old Girl

Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News


A Sale Creek man has been charged in the burglary of two ATVs and other items from a house on Stormer Road in Soddy Daisy where the owner had died. Orval Heard, 52, of Honeybee Lane, is charged ... (click for more)

Police have charged a 32-year-old East Ridge man with molesting the 13-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend. Dustin G. Ellis is charged with sexual battery by an authority figure and ... (click for more)

We send out headlines each week day of the latest Chattanooga news. Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Sale Creek Man Charged In Burglary Of ATVs, Other Items

A Sale Creek man has been charged in the burglary of two ATVs and other items from a house on Stormer Road in Soddy Daisy where the owner had died. Orval Heard, 52, of Honeybee Lane, is charged with theft over $2,500, theft of an ATV, aggravated burglary and vandalism. At the same time, he was charged in an ATV burglary in Rhea County. A woman told authorities that the ... (click for more)

Ellis, 32, Charged With Molesting 13-Year-Old Girl

Police have charged a 32-year-old East Ridge man with molesting the 13-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend. Dustin G. Ellis is charged with sexual battery by an authority figure and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The teen said Ellis has been providing her with alcohol and marijuana since January 2012 while her mother is at work. She said in an incident ... (click for more)

Opinion

Questions About TVA And Controlling Water Levels - And Response

So in 2003 Chattanooga and Marion County and more people below Chickamauga Dam suffered a 100 year flood because TVA had not prepared for the amount of rain that fell. Since then up until 2018 they have done a great job with controlling the flooding problems. On Feb. 14 they started dumping water at Chickamauga Dam and raising the river, bringing the river level up. Feb 15 it's ... (click for more)

Confusing Racism And Racial Injustice - And Response

I guess many people confuse racism with racial injustices. They're only related in the sense when racism is used to make legal and physical racial injustices take place. Racism is an emotion anyone is entitled to. That's their cross to bear. Something the racist will one day have to give an accounting for. Racial injustices takes physical, emotional, psychological and mental actions ... (click for more)

Sports

Dave Fleser: Vols Hard On Themselves As They Tumble To #5; Lady Vols Revived By Victory At Missouri

Kentucky was hard on Tennessee Saturday night, beating the Vols in every phase of play and scoring an impressive 86-69 basketball victory at Rupp Arena. The Vols were just as hard on themselves afterward. Forward Grant Williams, who hit the deck several times during the physical affair, went so far as to call the Vols “phonies” afterward. Teammate Admiral Schofield was blunt ... (click for more)

Prep Basketball Post Season Tournaments Continue This Week

District championships will be on the line Monday and Tuesday as area basketball teams compete in post season tournaments. East Hamilton and Bradley Central will play on Monday at Soddy-Daisy for the girls district championship. On Tuesday. East Hamilton and Cleveland will play for the boys championship also at Soddy-Daisy. In District 6-AA, Signal Mountain and Red Bank ... (click for more)