Historical Society welcomes Willing Hearts Circle

Published 9:17 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wanda Hart, chairwoman of the Willing Heart Circle, will be the guest speaker at the first program of the year for the Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society.

The meeting will be held today at 6:30 p.m. at the Jimmy Furlow Center, said Cathy Bridge, president of the LCHGS.

“The presentation, ‘The Willing Hearts Circle: Our Story,’ will highlight the Willing Hearts Circle of Brookhaven, which began in 1894 and flourished to help the sick and needy. It continues to do so today,” she said.

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In 1894, the Willing Hearts Circle was organized in Brookhaven. Immediately, the women began nursing and visiting the sick while providing food, clothing and medicine to the needy.

Twenty years later, the Circle purchased the furnishings of the Brookhaven Sanitarium, a hospital established by Dr. Harvey E. Johnson and Dr. D.W. Jones at 156 West Chickasaw St.

In 1922, the Circle, with the assistance of a bond issue passed by the city and bricks donated by the Brookhaven Pressed Brick Compnay, opened a new facility, King’s Daughters Hospital, on the corner of North Jackson and West Congress streets. A nursing school also opened there between 1924 and 1944.

In 1964, the hospital moved to its present location on Hwy. 51 North into a building leased from the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors. The city deeded the old location to Silver Cross Home.

In 1977, a hospital auxiliary was organized to provide volunteers for the hospital.

In 1982, HUD made funds available for a project to provide low-income housing for the elderly and handicapped. The Willing Hearts Circle established a nonprofit corporation to build and oversee Kingsborough Apartments. After raising $10,000 from private donations and obtaining a f40-year loan from HUD, 64 one- and two-bedroom apartments for low-income tenants were built behind the hospital.

In 1996, Silver Cross Home constructed a 60-bed nursing home behind KDMC. In 2010, a therapy center was added.

In 1998, the King’s Daughters Foundation was reactivated to increase community education about KDMC and to encourage financial support. The Foundation is governed by a board composed of members of the Circle, the community and the hospital and medical staffs.

In 1999, King’s Daughters Hospital changed its name to King’s Daughters Medical Center to reflect the expansion of services to the community.

In 2004, the Auxiliary opened a gift shop in the lobby. Profits are put back into projects benefitting KDMC.

In 2013, Silver Cross Home was leased to Aspen Properties LLC, and the Silver Cross Foundation was formed.

King’s Daughters Medical Center, Silver Cross and Kingsborough Apartments are governed by boards elected by The Willing Hearts Circle.