Harbacks help hospital help community

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By Cindy Simpson

Roane Medical Center’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation facility has been an important resource for the community for years and generous donations have helped it continue to be so.

Manager Steve Oran said the facility sees about 500 people a week. It wouldn’t be possible to serve them so well without  generous donations of others, such as a recent one given by Rodney and Kay Harback in memory of Rodney’s late parents, Eddie and Mary Harback.

“My parents both came here, both loved it, thought Steve and his staff walked on water,” Rodney Harback said.

Funds donated by the Harbacks helped purchase two elliptical machines for the facility.

Plaques on both machines, dedicated on May 9, say they are made possible by the community and Harback in memory of Mary, a longtime Harriman City Council member who once sat on the hospital board; and Eddie, a Harriman business owner.

Both parents had ailments. Mary’s included a valve replacement, and Eddie had had multiple heart attacks, bypasses and stints.

Harback said his parents both appreciated the facility greatly, especially Oran and his staff.

“They both were a joy,” said Oran, who came to know both Mary and Eddie well in his 17 years at the rehabilitation facility.

“I can’t tell you enough what a blessing it was to be part of their lives.”

Harback believes both parents would be looking down beaming that they were able to be part of something that gave back to the community.

Others who donated charitable gifts to the facility were also recognized during a recent ceremony.

They include Polk Cooley, Robert Silvera, Lewis Spivey and Bruce Eltzroth were cited for their contributions, some of which went to purchasing two new treadmills.

Facility officials said it’s gifts that make all the difference between good and great care today. Such gifts are particularly helpful, because the cost of providing services does not always match the level of payment the facilities receive from insurance.

After the ceremony Silvera was talking to his close friend, Hila Friedlander, while he worked out on the new elliptical machines.

Friedlander stayed physical since he had bypass surgery in 1983. He went to a similar facility in Ohio for 10 years before moving to the area in 1993 and working out at Roane Medical Center.

“My kids think I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t had this exercise program,” he said.

Silvera said he has a family history of Transient Ischemic Attack, or mini-strokes, including his mother.

“I do it more for prevention,” he said.

Many of the people who go to the center are not newcomers.

Oran said that many are on monitors in the months after a health issue, such as a heart attack. But they continue to go for maintenance.

“I have people that have been here 20 years, literally been in rehabilitation 20 years,” Oran said.

It’s a place people can feel safe exercising if concerned about their health and not self conscious.”

Oran said his facility can do anything the emergency room can do if an emergency arises.

“You tend to work better when you have somebody working with you,” Harback said.

“They don’t feel like they are the only ones with a problem,” Kay Harback added.

Oran said that the two elliptical machines cost $7,000 for both and the treadmills were $5,000 total.