Dear Editor:

It’s that time of the year to be "thankful" and "joyful." I have a story to share with my community in hopes to keep it this way. My name is Rhonda Shipp. I worked at Ozark Health, formerly Van Buren County Memorial, for 27 years, five months and six days. I was let go by the current administration because "he and I just could not work together." That was what I was told the day I was let go. Here is the story I want to share:

Friday at Kohl’s in Conway, I ran into a former co-worker that works with the administration. She was so excited to tell me about going to Walmart to buy two TVs that were on sale. She explained how the salesperson got really flustered over the warranty information, and how three people reviewed her tickets, but when she got to the car she discovered that she got one of the TVs for free. She was so proud of herself.

Now, let’s look at this picture. She went to buy two TVs that cost almost $200 a piece. If you add that I get a total of $400. She paid for it in the store but it came to just a little over $200, but she didn’t realize it till she got to the car. I would have to say that I would have questioned the clerk in the store because I would have known that I was planning on paying $400. I take honesty to heart and some people don’t. This person was also instrumental in getting a very honest, ethical employee fired last week, but that is a different story.

The reason I want to share this story is because this person is helping run our community-owned hospital. This is the kind of person the administration likes to keep around. People are being paid for work they did not do as was proven by previous administration. I received a 10 percent increase in pay when only a 3 percent was suppose to be allowed. I was supposed to take it and shut up. That’s not me, I felt I needed to work even harder than I was already working for the facility. I continued to ask questions and try to save money and was let go. For those of you still there that took the increase and shut up, I am not judging. My warning to the community is if you find this questionable what else is going on at our hospital. I don’t want to see some large outside organization have to come in and save our hospital. It has happened in the past and we survived but it’s not the best for community ownership. It is a shame that so much work went into building such a wonderful facility from the ground up and to worry that current leadership might put it in the hands of strangers.

If leadership comes back and blames me for the problems, so be it. I have big shoulders and will burden the problems if the leadership will take the opportunity to make the necessary changes in administration and get our hospital back on the "road to recovery" so that it will continue to be a good place to be a patient or an employee.

To those dedicated hard-working honest employees, please keep doing what you are doing for our community. For those of you who were disgraced by being fired, hold your heads up, for I see no disgrace in your being let go because look where it came from.

To my community, please ask questions if you care. There is an Operating Board and a Governing Board that oversees the business of the facility. Administration has the names and numbers.

I am a very concerned community supporter.

Rhonda Shipp


Dear Editor:

Time is the most precious gift that we possess. It can not be harnessed and the most wealthy can not purchase a single second of it.

Suffice it to say, there are many people reading this letter that will be with us as memories only by this time next year.

This Christmas season, please don’t enslave yourselves to debt by purchasing expensive gifts that will soon disappear. I ask you to give the gift that will live on for generations. Give the gift of yourself.

Your time is most valuable thing that you can give to someone else and the memories will last longer than anything made with man’s hand.

God bless you all. My prayer for you is to have a season that will live on in the good memories of your Kith and Kin forever.

Warren Johnson