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2003 Press Releases

Former JBI Staff Recognized for Their Enduring Service to the Mentally Ill

Gail Wilkerson
Chief of Marketing & Communications
(207) 761-2292

SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE (December 3, 2003) — More than 100 staff who stayed on through the turbulent downfall and eventual bankruptcy of the psychiatric hospital formerly known as Jackson Brook Institute will receive awards today recognizing their years of service to mentally ill patients. Organized by Spring Harbor Hospital, the nonprofit organization that emerged from the sale of JBI in April 1999, the event will take place at Keeley's Banquet Center in Portland from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM.

Recognized during the celebratory luncheon will be nearly one-quarter of all Spring Harbor employees: those who have worked at the South Portland hospital for at least five years. Special honors will be conveyed upon the more than 60 staff who have cared for patients at the hospital for a decade or more.

For honorees, the event will serve as both a reminder of the past and a glimpse into the future. The program will highlight both the endurance staff showed through JBI's final demise, as well as the role they have played in making possible Spring Harbor's rebirth, including its move next spring to a new 100-bed facility in Westbrook.

"I have the greatest respect for the staff who prevailed through the waning days of JBI," says Spring Harbor CEO Dennis King. "Thanks to the nearly daily news coverage, we all had a sense of how difficult it must have been for them to perform their challenging jobs while also worrying whether their checks would bounce come payday. No one envied them their position, yet all of us admired their commitment to their patients."

Among those who experienced these events firsthand was Dietary Services Director Joseph Pastore, an 11-year veteran of the hospital. "Those were trying times," he says of the final days of JBI, "and it was certainly a challenge balancing work demands with the personal impact of the bankruptcy. But we did our best to keep this from interfering with our pledge to provide the highest quality care to our patients."

Pastore says that moving to a new hospital vindicates the former JBI staff in some ways. "It's like the phoenix rising from the ashes," he notes. "Five years ago, none of us could have dreamed that building a new treatment center for our patients was within the realm of possibility."

"We at Spring Harbor never want to forget the history of our staff, because that is part of who we are as an organization," says King. "While we are pleased to recognize that past today, we are equally happy to stand at the threshold of a new era in which our updated hospital will allow staff to provide higher levels of care to their patients than they ever imagined possible."

Spring Harbor Hospital, in collaboration with Maine Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry, represents Maine's most complete continuum of care, education, and research for psychiatric illness and co-occurring disorders. All told, the network helps improve the lives of more than 20,000 persons each year.

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