-The Complete story- Emanuel Medical Center named Business of the Year
by Whitley Clifton | February 13, 2020 4:37 pm
by HALEI LAMB
On Thursday, Jan. 30, the Person of the Year, Business of the Year, and STAR students and teachers from area schools were recognized at the 66th Annual Chamber Banquet at the Swainsboro Golf & Country Club.
Shortly after 7 p.m., Emanuel Medical Center was named Business of the Year. Zac Frye gave the opening remarks about the hospital before a short highlight video played for the assembled. Damien Scott, CEO of Emanuel Medical, accepted the award, and a group of hospital and chamber affiliates gathered for a photo at the conclusion of the night. The paragraph that follows is an overview of Frye’s introductory comments about EMC:
Emanuel Medical Center includes an acute care hospital, a geriatric unit, a nursing home, and 11 partner clinics. Its mission is to help the people of Emanuel County and surrounding areas live healthier and happier lives. Progress is being made through the dedication of doctors and staff. The county health ranking, based on Georgia’s 159 counties, has improved from 154 in 2017 to 130 in just two years. In addition, EMC has been rated a 4-star hospital in the last five years and was recently named a 5-star hospital by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). There have been more than 100 rural hospital closings since 2010, and EMC has fought to stay financially viable during these very pertinent times while still, under compliance and federal regulation, providing healthcare that is a lose-lose situation for profit but a gain-gain for the community. In addition, EMC has a more than $70 million economic impact on the county and provides more than 1,100 jobs directly or indirectly for the community. Despite financial stressors, Emanuel Medical Center has persevered, thanks to the commitment from county commissioners, the hospital authority, medical staff, the hospital foundation, employees, volunteers, donors, and all of the community’s support.
Milton Gray then, for the second year in a row, came forward to present the Person of the Year Award to Butch Parrish. He admitted his surprise that this year’s honoree hadn’t been given the award previously, but on second thought, he noted that if the award was called Person/Public Servant of the Year instead, Parrish would’ve won it many times over.
This year’s honoree was born and raised in Swainsboro. He graduated from Swainsboro High School and went on to finish the University of Georgia with a pharmacy degree. During his time in Athens, he was president of his class. He returned home and began practicing pharmacy in 1965. He opened Shop Rite and ran it for many years before eventually selling it to long-time partner Danny Tapley. Parrish’s entrepreneurial spirit led him into the car business for a short period of time and even led him into the restaurant business. He is currently the majority owner of Medical Center Pharmacy, Inc. as well as Parrish Properties, a real estate holding company in Swainsboro.
Parrish has always been an active participant in the local community, serving as past president of the Exchange and the Swainsboro-Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce. He is a long-term member of First United Methodist Church, and in 1975, he was selected as one of five outstanding young men of the Georgia Jaycees. He received the Pharmacist of the Year Award from the Phi Delta Ki Pharmaceutical Fraternity at UGA. He also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from UGA’s College of Pharmacy and the NICE-Est Pharmacy Community Service Award. He served on the board of directors for The Citizens Bank of Swainsboro for 19 years, providing insight, guidance, and vision for the bank.
Parrish began his political career as a member of Swainsboro City Council, serving three terms. He was eventually elected to the Georgia House of Representatives was sworn into office in January 1985 to represent the 158th District. He continues to represent the district as chairman of the House Health Sub-Committee on Appropriations and serves as a member of the Economic Development & Tourism, Banks & Banking, and Rules committees.
Ken Warnock then took the floor to recognize this year’s academic STARs and to name the county-wide representatives.
Chamber CEO Ken Warnock then took the floor and recognized the STAR recipients from each school. Swainsboro High School STAR Student Josie Peebles and her STAR Teacher selection, Cherie Hooks, were named this year’s county-wide representatives. Also honored on Thursday for academic excellence were Emanuel County Institute STAR Student Kristin Smoyer and STAR Teacher Mary Lucy Rowland. David Emanuel Academy’s STAR Student, Ethan Wells, and his STAR Teacher, Sara Youmans, were recognized in their absence.
Special guests, chamber board members, and the outgoing chair were recognized before adjournment.