First-Person Stories To Highlight Strong Ties Between Wellmont, Patients In Region

Morgan King When viewers turn on WJHL News Channel 11 every weekday morning, they see a familiar face - one who has influenced local media for a generation.

Now, Morgan King, co-host of Daytime Tri-Cities, is sharing another important story - his road to broadcasting success began when he was born June 16, 1952 at Holston Valley Medical Center. Through the years, he has maintained a deep connection to Holston Valley, in part through his wife, Linda, who has served the hospital with distinction as a registered nurse for 27 years.

King's family moved to Ohio when he was young, and he later returned to the area, where he has enjoyed a productive career that has also included serving as the weatherman at WKPT-TV and working in local radio.

"I often joke about who put the 'King' in Kingsport," said King. "That would be me, and it all started at Holston Valley Medical Center."

King is among hundreds of thousands in the region whose lives have been shaped in a meaningful way by a Wellmont Health System hospital. And he is one of many now highlighting their experience with the region's premier health system.

Wellmont has launched an online initiative to celebrate these achievements with short videos and narratives from the very people whose lives have been impacted. King's video kicked off the series Thursday, July 17, and will be followed each week by another compelling story. All videos will be available at www.wellmont.org and posted to Wellmont's social media outlets.

Denny DeNarvaez, Wellmont's president and CEO, said these stories are an excellent way to illustrate the significant role Wellmont's innovative care has played in strengthening the region's health.

"Wellmont has a rich history in the communities we are privileged to serve, and it has been a great honor for us to give patients their start in the world or help them during a challenging time," DeNarvaez said. "We value the feedback our patients provide and are humbled so many people want to express their appreciation to Wellmont for playing such a prominent role in their lives. These testimonials are living examples of Wellmont's mission to deliver superior health care with compassion."

In reviewing Wellmont's legacy of care, one can also take into account Ian Willis' story, which demonstrates the healing that occurs every day at one of the health system's facilities.

Ian's journey started unexpectedly on March 5, 2013, when a quick ride in a friend's car nearly turned into a fatal car accident. The 15-year-old suffered numerous injuries, including a broken leg, a lacerated spleen and kidney, 12 broken ribs, a fractured skull and a traumatic brain injury. He was rushed to Bristol Regional Medical Center, where he would spend several weeks receiving the care he needed to survive.

Today, after undergoing multiple surgeries and a lengthy rehabilitation stay, Ian is a healthy rising senior at Tennessee High School. Occasionally he visits Bristol Regional to see the remarkable team of caregivers who empowered him to recover and share his story.

Impactful stories are not limited to Wellmont's largest hospitals. They happen every day in the community hospitals that serve the more rural areas of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

On July 8, 2013, Wayne Seal began experiencing heart failure symptoms, and he and his wife went to Hancock County Hospital in Sneedville. Soon after he was taken to the emergency department, he suffered a heart attack. Seal said subsequent procedures revealed he had two blockages.

Seal credited Hancock County with not only saving his life but giving him an opportunity every father cherishes.

"I am a firm believer that if Hancock County Hospital had not been here in Sneedville, with such skilled and dedicated doctors and nurses, I wouldn't be here today and wouldn't have been present on Aug. 24, 2013, to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding," Seal said.

Wellmont welcomes suggestions for future stories. To submit an idea, please visit www.wellmont.org and click on the Patients and Visitors tab.