Cedar City Hospital’s administrator is leaving; community says goodbye

CEDAR CITY — City officials, hospital staff and community members from all over the Iron County area turned out Tuesday afternoon to pay their respects to a 14-year veteran of Cedar City Hospital, formerly known as Valley View Medical Center, before he leaves for his new position.  

The community gathered to bid Cedar City Hospital Administrator and CEO Jason Wilson a fond farewell before he heads off to Administrate over American Fork Hospital, Cedar City Hospital, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 12, 2015 | Photo taken by Carin Miller, St. George News
The community gathered to bid Cedar City Hospital Administrator and CEO Jason Wilson a fond farewell before he heads off to administrate over American Fork Hospital. Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 12, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

For two straight hours, the line to say goodbye to Cedar City Hospital Administrator Jason Wilson extended out of the party room and into the hallway of the hospital, a marked indicator of the imprint he will leave on the community as he departs for new horizons.

“He is a fabulous leader,” Cedar City Hospital Nurse Administrator Cyndi Wallace said. “He is very smart, and as I said, he can read people. He is gregarious and so he is comfortable with anybody, and that is a huge advantage to him.”

Wallace has known Wilson since he first joined the hospital as an intern in 2002 to help the facility in the hospital’s big 2003 move from its previous location, 680 S. 75 East, to its current location at 1303 N. Main St., Cedar City.

At the time, Wilson was fairly young and eager to grow and learn in his position, she said.

“I met him in my office,” she said. “I was the employee nurse at that time and he came to get his health records and so forth taken care of, and I immediately liked him. We watched him as he did this wonderful job of organizing this huge move and gained a huge respect for him.”

When he first arrived to help with the move, Wilson said, his office was in the back of the basement of the old hospital in a room that was so cold that, if he closed the door when he left for the night, he would come back to find quite a mess the next morning.

“I shut the door one night when I went to leave,” he said, “and when I arrived the next morning, it had gotten so cold at night that the pipes had burst in the room and everything was flooded and drenched in water.”

From then on, instead of locking up at the end of the night, Wilson said, he opened up.

The community gathered to bid Cedar City Hospital Administrator and CEO Jason WIlson a fond Farewel before he heads off to Administrate over American Fork Hospital, Cedar City Hospital, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 12, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Cedar City Hospital, St. George News
The community gathered to bid Cedar City Hospital Administrator and CEO Jason Wilson a fond farewell before he heads off to administrate over American Fork Hospital. Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 12, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Cedar City Hospital, St. George News

Wilson’s sense of humor about disastrous events like the pipes bursting is indicative of how he takes everything in stride as a leader, Wallace said. He always manages a joke or finds a way to work fun into a stressful situation to allow employees to blow off steam before they blow their tops.

“It’s not like he’s goofy or silly all the time,” she said, “but he recognizes and can read his team and tell when we need something — and he gives it to us.”

“This is quite certainly our loss but American Fork’s gain,” Cedar City Hospital Governing Board Chair Steve Thompson said in a press release issued by the hospital. “I am so appreciative of the many accomplishments Jason has led at Cedar City Hospital.”

Among the many improvements hospital staff has attributed to Wilson’s leadership, Cedar City Hospital Major Gift Officer Michael France said, the ability for the hospital to be recognized on a national level is a steadfast legacy that will be passed on to the next administrator who steps in.

France said about his colleague and friend:

When you take a hospital, especially a smaller hospital in a small town like Cedar City, you can’t just simply wake up one morning and just stretch and go ‘ooooh, let’s make ourselves a Top 100 hospital. Let’s be Top 10 for safety in Consumer Reports. Let’s win another Top 100 award.’ That doesn’t just happen. Those are deliberate steps over time … him as a leader being able to do that — being able to work today but also have that looking forward vision to be able to achieve something — that’s really difficult.

Wilson took a moment to talk to attendees after being gifted with season BYU tickets by hospital staff as a going away present and expressed his love for those he will be leaving behind when he begins the next chapter of his life in American Fork.

Cedar City Hospital Administrator and CEO Jason Wilson is leaving, Cedar City Hospital, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 12, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Cedar City Hospital, St. George News
Cedar City Hospital Administrator and CEO Jason Wilson is leaving for another position. Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 12, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Cedar City Hospital, St. George News

“I love being a part of this community,” he said. “This place is so special … it’s been, I think, the most meaningful experience of my life.”

Being a part of a team like the one at Cedar City Hospital was an exponential blessing that allowed him to go to work every day and feel like he was somehow a part of making the world, and the community, just a little bit of a better place to live in, Wilson said.

While many of the well-wishers who flooded in to say their goodbyes to Wilson before his departure were sad to see him go, the general consensus across the board was that employees and community members were happy for the huge opportunity that lies ahead of him in American Fork.

“It doesn’t surprise me (that) he is moving to a bigger location,” Thompson said. “When he told me that he was going, I was surprised that it wasn’t a couple of years ago. So we’re going to obviously miss him, but we’re excited for his opportunities and just where he’s going. He’s going to be one to watch in the future — that’s for sure.”

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Email: cmiller@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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