Happy 60th, Sanford!

SANFORD TRACY staff were all smiles as they served up burgers and hot dogs at Thursday evening’s 60th anniversary party at Central Park. Pictured, from left: Gerrie Cisneros, Patient Access Representative; Stacy Barstad, Senior Director; Casey Schmidt, Hospital RN; Becky Averill, Associate Guest Service Representative; Tori Schons, Volunteer; Jeri Schons, Director of Nursing; Denise Clouse, Community Liaison; Jolene Cochran, Imaging Supervisor. Photos / Per Peterson

“Nearly 3,000 persons registered and several hundred more didn’t put their name in the book.” That just about sums up the success of Tracy Municipal hospital’s open house Saturday and Sunday despite inclement weather. Amid floral decorations and hastily-scrubbed halls, visitors saw the latest equipment and devices for patient care and sipped coffee in the well-lighted nurses’ dining room courtesy of the ladies’ hospital auxiliary. People converged on the hospital from the entire territory, which gratified the municipal hospital board who worked for more than two years planning and watching construction of the new building.

— Reprinted from the Aug. 3, 1961, edition of the Tracy Headlight Herald

By Per Peterson

Sixty years.

Every Tracy resident should be carrying a heightened sense of pride this month for their local hospital, as it celebrated its 60th anniversary last Thursday with a picnic in Central Park.

No one can argue that Sanford Tracy’s presence makes Tracy a better community. Not only is it a vital necessity for Tracy and area residents, it’s long been a selling point for the town.

Sanford CEO Stacy Barstad was born in the Tracy hospital, as were her sisters, and being a part of the Sanford team for more than 20 years means more to her than just punching a clock.

“It’s not just a place I come to work; this has a lot of personal ties for me, too,” Barstad said. “This facility is in my heart. Being around for 60 years — I’m so proud of our staff and everything they’ve done.

“Being able to keep this for the community … people are so appreciative to have the hospital here,” Barstad added. “Our goal is to keep that going, make it as accessible as possible, keep bringing outreach providers here and keep growing it the best we can in rural community, which is not always easy.”

Like Barstad, Sanford Tracy has become part of the life of Gordy Kopperud, manager of ancillary services at Sanford Tracy. Kopperud has been at Sanford Tracy for 15 years and is proud to be part of this month’s big celebration.

“It’s been neat to see the transition, it’s been neat to see the community support,” said Kopperud. “None of us would be here without the community. It’s just a celebration of healthcare in this community, and I’ve been privileged to be part of it. It’s a great group of people to work with and a great community to work in.”

Thursday’s celebration in the park included a burger and hot dog meal, live music by Tom Morin and Sue Nelson, the Zoo Express and a most popular dunk tank, in which a number of Sanford employees got very wet.

“This makes me feel good,” said Dr. Wilfredo Apostol, a doctor with the hospital for 37 total years. “The hospital and the community has been very good to my family and me.”

Sanford Community Liaison Denise Clouse said about 300 people were served and “the dunk tank was a hit. The music from Tom Morin and Sue Nelson was a great addition to the evening as well. Our staff, Hospital Board and Foundation Board members always do a wonderful job making the picnic happen and we appreciate all their help. A big thank you to everyone who joined us and to Tracy and other area communities who have supported Sanford Tracy for the past 60 years.”