At one time, Story County Medical Center (previously Story County Hospital) was on death’s doorstep.

Being so close to a much bigger facility in Ames, there were some who, at one point in time, questioned the need for a smaller county hospital and pushed to see it closed so no more tax dollars would be “wasted.”

Luckily, for Nevada and other rural areas of the county, there were those who pushed back. Among them were Jim and Clare Frevert.

Jim, 79, who has lived in Nevada since 1964 and is retired from Hertz Farm Management, was an original member of the Medi Search committee, which started out through the efforts of the Nevada Rotary Club in the 1970s. “The purpose then was to help recruit doctors, but the efforts were changed (at some point) to help raise support (for the hospital) when the Foundation was formed in the 1980s,” Jim said.

Jim has been a longtime member of the Story County Medical Center’s Endowment Foundation and is proud of the group’s efforts. The group initially supported the hospital’s need for a new ambulance and then it helped the hospital raise funds to pave the south parking lot, at the north campus on Sixth Street, where the main hospital was previously located. “Different medical equipment has been purchased, as well as helping with the remodeling of the north campus facility years ago,” Frevert said.

In recent years, the Foundation has significantly supported the new medical center facility, starting with Phase I in 2007.

Clare and Jim have been right there too, supporting each project that has been undertaken. They are proud of what the county hospital has become today.

“The Story County Medical Center is recognized as one of the leading medical facilities of its size and scope in the state of Iowa,” Jim said. “It provides tremendous services for Story County residents. It has excellent professional staff, who are very caring and responsive to their patients’ needs.”

Phase II of Story County Medical Center’s south campus, which was completed this past year, is an incredible addition to the original new hospital building. It offers patients of the Story Medical Clinic in Nevada and the Story Medical Center, plus patients of 21st Century Rehab, access to the majority of their health care needs, all under one roof.

“Most patients and their family members appreciate a unique and personalized health care experience, and our new facility enables us to offer that,” said Nate Thompson, CEO of Story Medical. He said the new facility has allowed the staff of Story Medical to “coordinate patient care more effectively, ensuring the patient experience is as convenient as possible, with minimal confusion and without the frustration often associated with accessing care in a larger facility.”

Thompson also added, and wants the community to understand, “Our facility expansion is not just a shiny new penny — its design and function allow our teams to elevate the level of care provided, both in terms of experience and efficiency.” Thompson said the new facility demonstrates Story Medical’s commitment to its future, which he also believes can help retain and attract new families, new employers, new business partners and talented leaders to Nevada and Story County. “Health care provider organizations from across the state, including partners who bring their services to Nevada, have noted the investment we’ve made in ourselves,” Thompson said.

Now, Story Medical Center needs a little more investment from the community and its residents. Of the $2 million that the hospital committed to raise for Phase II of the south campus overall plan, it is still $700,000 away from completing that mission.

“We believe so much in the Story County Medical Center,” Jim said, that he and his wife personally committed a significant donation over a five-year period to do their part.

But Frevert and hospital leaders understand that not everyone has the ability to make major contributions. They are hoping, however, that during this holiday season, everyone will think about making whatever monetary gift they can afford, to help the hospital reach its $700,000 goal. To those collecting it, every dollar is important.

Troy and Sara Clausen live in Nevada and have two younger school-age children, who have been patients of Story Medical since the day they were born. The Clausens gave to the original capital campaign when the hospital proposed a three-phase project. Sara was also an advocate for the project when it was in jeopardy of not moving forward due to a Certificate of Need that was in question. She attended town hall meetings and helped educate the community of Nevada on the benefits of the facility and having the services located in Nevada. She has also served as a committee member to coordinate and promote three Foundation Galas that have helped raise funds to support the hospital and its work.

The Clausens are hopeful others will give what they can to help support Phase II.

“Paying off Phase II only allows us to get closer to the final phase, which will benefit the seniors in Story County that need long-term care,” said Sara, referring to the future plan to build a new senior care facility that will connect to the new hospital and improve the care given to the residents living in that facility.

“We encourage the residents of Story County to step up and support the efforts to pay off Phase II, so the leadership of the hospital can turn its focus toward a future of progress and growth, rather than anxiousness,” Sara said.

One person who completely understands the value of Phase II of the Story Medical project is 15-year Story County provider Dr. Art Check, who spent 14 years working in the building attached to the north campus facility.

“The new building,” he said, “allows the staff and patients to all be connected under one roof. This includes acute, skilled, emergency and clinic patient care areas, as well as ancillary services, such as lab, radiology and physical therapy. All of this,” he added, “provides more efficient care to our patients. There is no driving from one building or location to another, or confusion over which address to go to for specific services.”

The thing that Check — whose wife, Kelly, is also a provider for Story Medical as a podiatrist — is most pleased with in regard to the new facility, is being able to offer the people of Story County and surrounding areas a modern facility, where they can receive quality health care.

“I still find myself marveling at the progress this organization has made over the past 15-plus years,” Check said. “From basically being at death’s door to this new modern facility, speaks volumes about the hard work and determination of many people who have made it possible.”