By Martha Underwood
Killeen Daily Herald
A larger Intensive Care Unit and additional patient rooms will be funded in part by a check presented to Metroplex Hospital Thursday night.
"We raised the most amount of money in our goal for expansion of Metroplex Hospital," said Metroplex Foundation's board president Randy Sutton.
A check for $120,000 was presented to Kenneth Finch, CEO of Metroplex Hospital at the Gold Star Gala, a black-tie affair held Thursday at the Killeen Civic and Conference and Center. A crowd of 427 people was in attendance.
"This is an amazing amount raised for a great cause," Finch said. The ceremony to begin construction on the vertical addition to the hospital will take place Nov. 17. The project will add 65,000-square-feet in three more patient floors above the current two-story building.
Construction is expected to be completed by this time next year, Finch said. The addition will include a whole floor of ICU care, plus new orthopedic and medical/surgical private patient rooms.
"This project will take us to the next level of patient care for our community," Finch said.
"I am very impressed," said newly re-elected District 31 Congressman John Carter. "This is a large crowd showing community support, and the charity is outstanding."
Carter, R-Round Rock, is working on the grant process to get funding for the hospital expansion from Washington, after redistricting puts this area in Carter's district in January, he said. He hopes to get "seed money" this year.
The black-tie gala included a diamond drawing, a live auction and entertainment by Mary Wilson and the Supremes, the 1960's Motown musical trio with 12 No. 1 hits and 40 albums.
Up to 200 chances were sold toward winning a certified 1.07-carat round brilliant diamond from Benton's of Salado. Jeri Ann Webster, wife of Harker Heights physician Dave Webster, was the winner.
The evening included hors d'oeuvres during a social hour in which patrons inspected the raffle items. These included several shopping sprees, professional teeth whitening by a dentist, a chain saw, a beaded silk table runner and a fajita buffet for 20.
The gourmet dinner of smoked tenderloin medallions and chicken aristocrat, served with haricot vert, dutchess potatoes and rustic chipotle ranch boules, was catered by Bon Appetit. The dessert was lemon mist cake.
A live auction conducted by Bell County Commissioner John Fisher included a spring turkey hunt for four, matching his and hers leather jackets from Harley-Davidson, a cottage vacation at Martha's Vineyard and installation of a backyard putting green.
"I enjoyed the evening," said Sam Murphey, district director for Congressman Chet Edwards, who represents this area until January. "What a generous community to make this donation to Metroplex Hospital."
Contact Martha Underwood at email@example.com