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Johnson hired as new MMHF exec. director PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Lee   
Melissa Memorial Hospital Foundation has hired Jessica Johnson to fill the vacant executive director position.

The position opened when Cherrie Brown announced her resignation at the beginning of this year.

Brown served eight years for the foundation and has seen numerous changes—including the move into the new hospital and the beginning of the Grow Our Own Physician initiative.

Johnson moved to Holyoke in 2008 when her husband Tim accepted the position of radiology director at Melissa Memorial Hospital. She is originally from North Platte, Neb.

With both of her kids in school now and having done some volunteer work around town, she felt it was time to get her hands into something.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity,” Johnson said. “I can’t wait to see what all I get to be involved in.”

The MMHF executive director position grabbed her interest. She noted the job includes a little bit of everything, including planning, coordinating and socializing.

Johnson said she is excited to meet more people in town and to find out what all the hospital does for the town, besides just the medical aspect.

Two years ago the foundation got the ball rolling on the Grow Our Own Physician initiative, and Johnson feels it is a great opportunity to keep families growing in Holyoke. It also intrigues younger students to know they can be utilized locally as well.

“I think it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing to do,” Johnson noted.

Johnson began Aug. 1 and is still in the middle of learning what she will be doing with the job. Brown is staying on board to help make the transition as smooth as possible for the new director.

Not only does Johnson want to keep money coming into the foundation, she also is very adamant about informing the community about what all the foundation does.

Johnson attended culinary school at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Neb. and owns her own catering business, JL Candelight Catering in North Platte.

Her involvement within the community has been volunteering. She has done some work with PIE (Partners in Education) and her kids’ sports and events.

The Johnsons have two sons, Ethan, 9, and Chase, 6. In her free time, Jessica enjoys traveling with her family as well as crafts. She acknowledged she is a big Pinterest fan—something that provides a lot of her inspiration. Spending time with her kids and family also fill up a lot of her time.

Jessica Johnson, at right, has been hired as the new Melissa Memorial Hospital Foundation executive director. Cherrie Brown, at left, announced her resignation at the beginning of the year and will help Johnson transition into her new position.  —Enterprise photo

Brown looks back on eight great years

On May 15 of this year, Brown celebrated eight years of service as the executive director for MMHF.

She announced in January that she planned to resign from the job, but she graciously stuck around until a replacement could be hired.

“I just felt like I was supposed to move on and God had other things for me to do,” Brown said. There comes a time when there is just too much do to in life and one needs to take a step back. She plans to spend more time with family.

She also has some things around the house she wants to accomplish. In the meantime she said she is still waiting on the Lord to bring that next step.

Although she knows she needs to give Johnson her space, she said it’s a bit tough since she’s been involved for so long.

“I won’t ever be far away,” Brown noted.

She hopes to be involved with the annual Legacy Event in some way or another.

Looking back, Brown is happy with the direction the foundation has traveled. She was a member of the hospital board and the committee when the idea of a new hospital came up.

She was also part of the committee that led fundraising efforts for the new hospital building.

“I’m really proud of the people,” Brown said of Holyoke’s residents. “You won’t meet a more good-hearted, sharing and loving group of people that care about their community,” she told Johnson.

Brown noted fundraising for the hospital ran concurrent with the event center project and the town really stepped up to show support for both projects.

She said she will miss working with the generous community members. She noted if it wasn’t for the donors, there wouldn’t be anything for the foundation to do.

For now, she will help Johnson get to know the board members and what all the position involves.

Current MMHF board members include president Gary Krumm, vice president Linda Alberts, treasurer Nancy Colglazier, secretary Brenda Adams, Steve Young, Paul Wickenkamp, Ardie Besse and Jeff and Karen Weaver.

Holyoke Enterprise Aug. 9, 2012