I’m not your leader and don’t intend to try to be; my chief aim to is to ensure we end with more strong clubs, but I think this will warm your hearts just a bit and shows what we can do as KFamily members in Alabama, plus its close enough to home that I felt inclined to share.

As some of you know, just as we’ve embarked on a five year fifty thousand dollar pledge to Jean Dean RIF from Circle K, Alabama Key Club is in the midst of closing out a pledge to Children’s Hospital. It’s important for me to share this with you, not to show off the fantastic achievement that Key Club has made (of which I’m very proud of my small role in way back when), but to show that what we’re doing for RIF is possible: our counterparts in Key Club have already done more than the same for Children’s Hospital.

Hope you’re all having a great night. Let’s continue to come together and tackle illiteracy in the world our “younger family members” have worked so hard to help bring more kids into…

Yours in dedicated service,
Kyle D. Pierce
The Great Alabama District
CKI – Circle K International
A Kiwanis Service Leadership Program

From: Bob Palys

Good Afternoon Board Members And Advisors,

How was your shortened four day week?

I am excited! No, I am elated! Nope, even stronger than that – I am ecstatic. Last night Melba and I were invited to a special event at the new Children’s Hospital – an hour of socializing, followed by a dinner on the top floor (12th Floor), followed by a tour of two floors: the 9th floor (patient rooms) and 4th floor (cardiac center). The Benjamin Russell for Children is unbelievable. All of the decor is colorful and cheerful; the floor has a band of blue that is encrusted with pieces of crystal that glimmer like stars with each step that you take. The hospital layout is spacious and state-of-the-art. The ER has around 9 pods each with 5 examination rooms; the new hospital has 9 more ER rooms than the old facility. Every patient room is equipped with a couch and parents are allowed to spend the nights more comfortably in each room. The ICU is no longer opened only during certain hours; each ICU patient is in a private room and immediate family can spend time around the clock. The technology is unbelievable; the staff of doctors, nurses, and other auxiliary workers are so excited about working in the new campus.

When you enter the main doors, the wall directly in front of you displays a very large acrylic plaque that lists all donors of at least $10,000.00. On the second panel from the left is the engraved name: Alabama District Key Club International. We learned that there were 200 donors between $10K and $99.99K, 60 donors between $100K and $999.99K, and 15 donors of $1 million and higher. The cost of building the new facility is currently $487 million – the largest single investment for a medical facility in the history of Alabama. By the way, if anyone has a spare $3 million your name will be given to the Hybrid Room – a high tech room where a child can have a heart catherization and if needed a cardiac surgery team could immediately enter and perform heart surgery. On the 9th Floor, when you exit the elevator you will immediately see the Alabama District Key Club Matt Palys Room for PICU Waiting Room. That photo is attached also. Unfortunately, the tour was very limited to a small portion of two floors and we were not able to see the Alabama District Key Club Robert L. Bottsford Teen Room. It is on one of the patient floors but not sure which one.

When we drove up to the new hospital we were met by a crew of car hops ready to Valet Park. The social hour was held on the 1st floor and second floor. Melba and I drank water but alcohol was available. The assortment of hors devours was attractive and delicious – my favorite was the miniature coconut lobster tails and stuffed mushrooms. We met a few people we knew from Childrens and a Kiwanian from Birmingham (she knew my son Matt from the telethon days. A man that I have known for the past 6 or 7 years, Mr. Coke Matthew (Executive Secretary of the Children’s Foundation) came to me and we talked and he told me: “The Key Club Name is all over this hospital. Please tell all of the (kids) how proud we are and thankful for what they have done.” That really meant a lot to me. The CEO of Children’s came to me and he also thanked Key Club “for all that they do for children”. I was shocked that he knew Key Club and me. I was a bit disappointed though; I know that a lot of Kiwanis Clubs donate to Children’s Hospital, but the only publicly announced donor to the new hospital is The Alabama District Key Club International – the Rotary Club and Lions Club of Alabama are noted, but not Alabama Kiwanis. If the donating Kiwanis Clubs would pool their donations their name would be included in public recognition.

The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children is about 98-99% complete. We learned that patients will be transferred to the new facility on August 4th and 5th and the ER will be completely moved on August 7th. The new hospital will be open for occupancy. The 101 year old facility will remain open with some clinics and offices remaining in use. Both facilities combined will provide more service for children who need special care.

Please allow me to share some statistics with you about Children’s of Alabama. The hospital is the ONLY medical center in Alabama dedicated to the care and treatment of children. Its mission is simple: To provide the best care for every child who comes to the facilities, so that each child may have the opportunity to meet his or her fullest potential. The current hospital is one of the ten busiest pediatric hospitals in the United States. Eleven of its departments – pulmonology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, urology, neonatalogy, oncology, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, and nephrology – are among the best children’s hospitals in the country by US News and World Report. The new facility will also be the home of the Alabama Pediatric Program as well as the Pediatric Epilepsy Program and the Pediatric Cardiovascular Program. In the new hospital with the new state-of-the-art technology, new research specialists, and new pediatric specialists (32 of the top pediatric specialists in the United States have committed to come to the new hospital campus) will propel the Children’s Hospital to vault to the position of the best pediatric facility in the United States.

In 2011, patients made more than 634,000 outpatient visits and 14,000 inpatient visits. Children from EVERY county in Alabama, 42 additional states, and five foreign countries received care in Birmingham. The new facility will enable more families and patients to experience the “miracles” that occur daily.. Children’s of Alabama remains a place of hope in the face of sickness, disease, and life-threatening injuries.

I think that you all may now understand why Melba and I are so passionate about Children’s Hospital. We have worked for and with the hospital for almost 30 years and we hope to continue our quest well into the future. I hope that you found my words entertaining and motivating. Please feel free to use any of this message in your future newsletters, meetings, or speaking opportunities. If you have any question or comment please let me know.

I hope that you all have a great week. If I may be of any service please let me know.

Take care,
Bob Palys
Alabama Key Club
Children’s Hospital Representative.