Schools, VFDs receive hospital’s computers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2005

Evidently, it isn’t enough for Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital to provide medical care for residents of the Black Belt. Now the hospital’s administration is doing its best to educate the region’s children and put out its house fires, too.

No, the Whitfield Memorial staff isn’t about to start diagramming sentences on the chalkboard or grappling with the live end of a fire hose. But the hospital is donating 70 of its old computers–hard drives, monitors, keyboards, mice and all–to various schools and organizations in an effort to help better serve the region.

“Anything within our power we can do to help our community, we’re more than happy to do,” says Thomas Uhl, Management Information Systems director at Whitfield Memorial and coordinator of the donation effort. “I feel real good about it, and I know Mike [Marshall, hospital administrator] does too.”

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Not coincidentally, the recipients of the hospital’s efforts don’t feel so bad about it themselves. These include the Demopolis City Schools system and West Alabama Prep, which will receive more than 40 computers and four servers between the two of them. Another major beneficiary will be the Marengo County Volunteer Fire Departments, all 10 of which will be receiving a pair of computers to assist in the firefighting efforts. The R.E.A.C.H. program in Eutaw and the Delta Chi fraternity at the University of West Alabama will be receiving computers as well.

Tracy Duckworth, assistant principal and science teacher at West Alabama Prep, says the computers will make a big difference at the school.

“It’s extremely exciting,” she said. “This will allow us to put a computer with internet access in all our classrooms, kindergarten through 12th grade. We’re looking forward to being able to put some in both our computer labs. Right now when our big classes go to the lab, not everyone has access to their own computer. We’ll also be able to phase some of the older ones out and upgrade.”

“We’re real excited and really thankful they thought about us,” Duckworth added.

The sentiments expressed by Duckworth were shared by Sherry Feller, Technology Coordinator for Demopolis City Schools.

“We’re getting two servers, which hopefully we can get cleaned out, and turn one next year into a webserver,” Feller said. “We’re going to look at putting some computers into classrooms, and some we may use for parts, A drives and hard drives, that sort of thing. We are really excited to see what happens. We’re very thankful to the hospital for doing this.”

According to Uhl, it’s the hospital’s pleasure.

“Back in June we researched all our systems and decided to replace all our desktops,” he says. “Mike said right away we should donate the old machines to organizations that could use them…we’re just trying to help out.”

Over the next several months the hospital collected requests, and on Wednesday the organizations began stopping by to pick up their free computers.

“We all have to do our part,” Uhl says. “We’re here too, we’re part of the community, and we all got to help each other. Anything we do for the community will be paid back in the end.”