Since its beginnings in 1898, Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk has been a vital and dynamic health care facility. Truly through the years, Brooks has a distinguished historical legacy of extraordinary responsiveness to a variety of health care needs for hundreds upon hundreds of individuals. Both in-patient and out-patient professional care is provided to patients who are need of this caring health care facility. And patients come from a fairly broad geographical region. Indeed, this is the living monumental legacy of Brooks Hospital.

Some of our readers may recall that this writer has been associated with SUNY Fredonia for over fifty-five years. My wife Elaine was a teacher in Forestville and Gowanda, and we reside in Gowanda where we raised our family. I like to think that we know this area quite well. All of us recall the catastrophic flood which occurred in the Gowanda area ten years ago, August 9 and 10, 2009. It was a tragic event, and Tri County Memorial Hospital (TLC Health-Gowanda Campus), along with hundreds of the residents and places of business were seriously affected. As a result of the flood, Tri County Hospital... which was adjacent to our home property... was was forced to close.

TLC Health Network had previously formed in 2001 with the merger of Tri County Hospital and Lakeshore Hospital . I personally had the satisfaction of serving for a number of years on the Tri County Hospital Board of Directors and as its Vice-President. The combination of the two facilities (Tri County and Lakeshore) struggled financially. After the Gowanda flood,we were told that it was just not feasible economically to rebuild Tri County Hospital in Gowanda. It was distressing to see the closure of this fine health care facility. But, the dynamic legacy of Tri County Memorial Hospital proudly lives on today through Gowanda Urgent Care and Medical Center and through its affiliation with Brooks-TLC Hospital System.

And now,there has emerged a creative initiative in which to strengthen health care in the region and to aid long-term financial sustainability of Brooks -TLC System. This plan is , what I call, on the cutting edge of a new health care frontier. I refer to an article eloquently written by James Wild M.D. in the March 31 issue of the Sunday OBSERVER. Dr. Wild is Chair-elect of the Brooks-TLC Hospital System Board of Directors. The plan includes a new , efficient, state-of-the -art community Hospital. This new facility will be be a regional health center serving patients from northern Chautauqua County as well as northern Cattaraugus County and southern Erie County. As Dr. Wild mentioned, "it will help to attract patients and retain physicians, specifically specialists". Truly, this innovative initiative has the provisions which will help to serve as a cutting edge health care facility of excellence while, at the same time, helping to maintain strategic long -term financial sustainability. And, as an added significant corollary, the legacy and life of Brooks Hospital and that of Tri County Hospital will continue to live on in the lives and in the hearts and minds of the citizens of this great area of ours!