• $100K raised in secret campaign to honor Darlene Burns

    Dec. 23, 2010

    Reception Dec. 28th at Teugega
    As a tribute to Rome Memorial Hospital’s retiring president and chief executive officer, the Rome Memorial Hospital Foundation raised $100,000 to create the Darlene A. Burns Family Lounge as a haven for families who are visiting loved ones at the hospital.

    The results of the secret fund-raising campaign were presented to Mrs. Burns at her retirement dinner Wednesday, Dec. 22, at The Beeches. More than 350 people attended the formal affair, where numerous friends and colleagues expressed their appreciation and admiration for her 39 years of service to the hospital.

    Open to the public, a reception will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28, at Teugega Country Club, 6808 Golf Course Road, for friends and colleagues to wish her well and acknowledge her contributions to the community. No reservations are required. Complimentary dessert, coffee and punch will be served.

    “For those of us who know Darlene, faith, family and friends are what drove her to be the person she is today,” said Basil J. Ariglio, who will succeed her as president and chief executive officer, effective Jan. 1. “She was never driven to be the CEO of the hospital. And if you asked her, she’d tell you that she would have been just as content spending her entire career at the patient’s bedside. But her love for the hospital and our community took her away from the bedside and down a different path.”

    A 1970 graduate of the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing, Mrs. Burns started her career at the hospital in 1972 as a charge nurse. As she moved up through the nursing and administration ranks, she earned her master's degree in health care administration from the New School for Social Research. She became president/chief executive officer in 2002.

    “I know when I think about the years we’ve worked together, it won’t be the many challenges we faced that will come to mind first. It’ll be that I had the privilege to work side by side with someone who always put the patient’s needs first and treated those of us who worked with her like family,” Ariglio said.

    The new family lounge will be located on 2 North for families who are visiting loved ones in the Critical Care Unit and the adjacent Intensive Care Unit. King & King Architects designed a comfortable space where families will find music, television, books, magazines and a cantina as temporary diversions from the worry and stress. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.
    “The Foundation’s Do It for Darlene’ Campaign Committee felt the family lounge would be an excellent way to acknowledge Darlene’s commitment to the hospital and our community,” said Foundation Board President William Tracy, who chaired the committee with Ariglio and Mrs. Burns’ son, Scott Burns.

    “From her many years as a nurse at the bedside, Darlene knows first-hand the toll an illness takes on the family. The lounge will provide a peaceful environment where family members can get away for a few moments, yet still be nearby,” Tracy said.

    “As my retirement draws near, I am filled with every emotion you could imagine! Thirty-nine years ago, I began a career in nursing and never thought of doing anything else but caring for my patients. Knowing they trusted me with their life was what kept me ever vigilant to do my very best for them every day,” Mrs. Burns said.

    “During my tenure here, I was given many opportunities and with each one came additional responsibility. I accepted each new role because I thought I could make a difference for our patients and their families,” Mrs. Burns said. “I saw the many possibilities where I could work collaboratively with our staff and physicians to strengthen our hospital and the services we deliver for our patients, families and community.”

    “I leave this phase of my life thanking our blessed Father for giving me such a wonderful life with a man whom I deeply loved, a career I found so rewarding, and the love of family, and many friends. I shall miss you all, but I know the hospital is in good hands,” she said. “I truly was surrounded by great people and for that I am most appreciative.”