The Vision of the PCH District is to be the
Best Place to Get Care and the Best Place to Give Care.
Pender Community Hospital HistoryDr. John Buis opened Logan Valley Hospital, the first hospital in Pender, in 1913. The new brick hospital had eight patient beds, a surgery section, and living quarters for the physician and his family. The original building is currently an apartment house at the intersection of Thurston Avenue and Logan Street.
The Pender Community Hospital Association, a non-profit association was formed in 1952 to construct a new hospital. The first Board elected by the group included R.C. Benson, Chariman; Wm. H. Hoppner, Secretary; R.R. Smith, Vice Chairman; W.F. Wenke, Treasurer; Carl Wichman, John Hilker, Claus Malmberg, Herman Westerhold and Wallis Malmberg, Trustees.
Construction of the new hospital began in 1954 at a cost of $320,990. Hill-Burton Funds from the Federal government provided $153,836 and over 1,200 individuals from Pender and the surrounding area donated $167,154.
The 75th Diamond Jubilee booklet in 1960 described the hospital as a glowing example of what a community can do if the hearts and hands are set to the task. The hospital was a 24-bed unit with 3 pediatric beds and 7 bassinets. The regular staff physicians were Dr. J.T. Keown and Dr. C.G. Muffly and there were ten additional physicians and specialists on staff from Sioux City. The hospital was a fine source of employment with a staff of 27 employees (some part-time) and a 1959 payroll of $52,000. The Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society, Fargo, ND operated the hospital, under a lease agreement with Mattie Miller as the Superintendent.
The Pender Community Hospital District was formed by an election of the electorate in November 1969. The District includes the western two-thirds of Thurston County, approximately 100 square miles of Cuming County and smaller sections of Burt and Wayne Counties. The first Board appointed included Lowell Tonjes, Chairman; Blair Richendifer, Vice Chairman; Densil Christiansen, Secretary/Treasurer; Carl Swanson, and Hilmer Wiig. Other individuals who served on the Board from its inception until the new hospital was completed included Darrell Merry, Lyle Hansen, William Bates, Carl Wichman, Richard Munderloh, and Gerald Gabel. The District issued bonds of $584,000 in 1970 to expand the Hospital by 32 beds. The Board accepted the bid of Christiansen Construction of $491,327 and the work was completed in 1971.
The lease arrangement with Lutheran Homes was terminated in 1988 and replaced with a management contract with Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City. The Pender Community Health Care Foundation was incorporated in 1991 and shortly thereafter it purchased the Medical Clinic building from Methodist Hospital in Omaha.
The Foundation initiated a capital campaign in 1996 that raised pledges of approximately $1,065,000 to expand the hospital for outpatient specialty services, surgery renovation, new birthing suite and other clinical and office areas. During renovation, surgery was performed for several months in portable MASH units provided by the United States Army. The open house was held in September 1998 and many community residents attended. The District Board members during this phase were Harold Swanson, Chair; Norman Wichman, Vice Chair; Larry Wingett, Secretary/Treasurer; Larry Kjeldgaard, and Mike Gatzemeyer.
The hospital has benefited over the years by a very competent and stable physician group. Physicians that have served this community include; J.T. Keown, MD, Charles Muffly, MD, James Mabie, MD, and Ben Martin, MD. Please click here for information on our current General Practice group of providers. In addition to our local doctors and physician assistants, the Pender Community Hospital medical staff also includes multiple specialists.
We believe medical care is best provided close to home. However, we realize there are some medical circumstances that require more specialized and advanced services and we have arrangements and protocols to transfer patients for this care, if needed.
The Pender Community Medical System is a model of an effective Rural Health System. We have been blessed throughout the years with the dedication of the medical staff, Board of Directors, and hospital staff. This tradition continues today. Through the loyalty and generous support of everyone making up the hospital district, we continue to deliver top quality health care.