For many at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital, it seems that Charles Revere has always been a part of the RTH family. And he very nearly was.

In early 1992, Charles Revere was appointed to a seat on Riverside Tappahannock Hospital's Board of Directors. The hospital had just become part of the Riverside Health System three years prior, changing its name from Tidewater Memorial. It was an exciting time for the hospital as it was undergoing what would be the first of many renovations to keep up with changes in the health care field.

Charles RevereThe hospital has always been led by a local Board of Directors, comprised of community members throughout the Tappahannock/Northern Neck region. Revere, along with the rest of the Board, set about keeping pace with the changes in medicine, ensuring that the small community hospital could provide the best possible care to the people in the region.

Throughout the 1990s, Riverside invested in diagnostic imaging, purchasing a new CT and mobile MRI, and also renovating the hospital and its grounds. It was also during this time that Riverside began expanding its presence throughout the region with primary care and specialty practices.

And the improvements kept coming. During the next decade, Revere and the Board also oversaw changes to help those who needed it most: the development of a helipad so that our most critically ill patients could be transferred as quickly as possible in order to receive life-saving care;and the opening of The Orchard in 2002, which created a more home-like environment for our older patients who needed specialized long-term care.

In addition to the improvements that he helped usher in, Liz Martin, who began as RTH administrator in 1995, remembers him as a supportive figure, too.

"My entire career at RTH was spent with him on the Board. I grew to rely not only on his skills as a businessman, which were extensive, but I also really valued his warmth of character. He was kind and supportive, and also a lot of fun to be around," she said.

Frances Ellis, Chairman of the RTH Make a Difference Fund and member of the Riverside Foundation, also remembers Revere as someone who had both a warm personality and keen mind.

"He was remarkable in his leadership skills and foresight for what Riverside could be, but at the same time I will also remember him as a wonderful people person," she said.

After serving eleven years on the Board, Revere was appointed Chairman in 2003. In his role as Chairman he also represented the RTH community on the Riverside Health System Board, always assuring that Riverside never forgot the needs of the small community they have come to love serving, 75 miles from their headquarters. He rarely missed a meeting, traveling to Newport News to serve on health system board committees and other events that would strengthen Riverside in order to provide top quality care in our rural areas.

"Charlie always kept the big picture in mind, asked tough and thoughtful questions, gave his best and worked to ensure high quality and friendly health care throughout the system, but especially in the Northern Neck," said Bill Downey, Riverside's President and CEO.

During his tenure as Chairman, Revere continued to be instrumental in RTH improving or enhancing the care delivered in the community. Over the next few years, the ICU was expanded, a Pain Management Center was added, and the Mount Clement Park offices opened, which brought the Urgent Care Clinic to the community and a way for people to walk-in and be seen without an appointment. It is now also home to Physical Therapy, Tappahannock Family Practice and Northern Neck Bone &Joint Center.

There was also the addition of an MRI that eliminated the need for a mobile unit, the creation of a hospital based sleep lab, new electronic medical record software, new telehealth equipment, a 25th anniversary celebration, the list of changes and improvements during Revere's 23 years at Riverside goes on and on.

But the list should end with the project that he spoke of at every Riverside event since it began in 2010: the Building a Better Place to Heal Capital Campaign. The campaign goal was to raise funds to renovate and convert existing rooms to private rooms, and would also be part of reshaping how care was delivered at the hospital. It was fitting that at the last Board meeting he attended on May 26, 2015, the announcement was made that all funds were raised and that construction could begin.

Charles Revere's passing marks a new, but bittersweet era for the hospital that he worked so tirelessly to enhance: one with all the promise of better health and care for the community members who live here, but one without the leader who had the vision and determination to make it happen. Charlie will be missed but always remembered.

To support Charles Revere's vision of high quality care in our community, please consider a donation in his memory through the Make a Difference Fund. Contact Scott Brown at 443-6203, mail to:  Revere MADF, RTH Administration, 618 Hospital Rd, Tappahannock, VA 22560 , or make a donation online: RTH Make a Difference Fund

Published: June 4, 2015