Local Veterans Say Hospital Name Change Is Disrespectful
GASTONIA, NC- A local hospital's controversial “Cheat Death” slogan is out, but its new name has upset people.
The former Gaston Memorial Hospital is a major economic engine in Gaston County, but local veterans say it's new name is disrespectful and dishonoring!
"In 1946 after World War II, the veterans were returning home and they were maimed, injured and missing limbs,” said Tony Sherrill, chairman of the Gaston County Veteran's Council.
That same year, Gaston Memorial Hospital was founded to honor the men who didn't return from war.
The public hospital sits on county land and is now the largest employer in the county.
Earlier this month, the name changed to CaroMont Regional Medical Center.
"To change the name is disrespectful to those who didn't come back. It was meant to be a continuing memorial,” said Sherrill.
Local vets aren't the only ones who feel left out of this decision. Hospital board members say they had no say in the name change at all.
"Gaston County has a larger percentage of veterans than most counties in North Carolina, so it's a big deal. You don't want to alienate your potential patients and consumers,” said Jason Williams, a Gaston County Commissioner who sits on the hospital board.
Gaston County Commissioner Jason Williams sits on the hospital board. He says despite commissioners appointing 13 of the 14 board members, CaroMont didn't ask the public to weigh in.
"I think Caromont is obligated to do whatever we can to find a way that we can properly recognize our veterans and the reason our hospital was named what it was," said Williams.
As for Sherrill, he says the vets aren't going down without a fight.
"All us veterans cannot let anybody forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. They gave their life for us," said Sherrill.
CaroMont's interim CEO has agreed to meet with a group of the veteran's next week.
The vets tell us they will hold peaceful demonstrations outside the hospital if the name isn't changed back