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Hospital courtyard now complete

A cross stands at one end of the courtyard, which is a prayer garden to be used by patients, families of patients and others. The cross was made by Elmer Brant.

A newly completed courtyard and prayer garden at Chilton Medical Center is hoped to make the hospital a warmer place for patients, employees and members of the community.

First started in April, the courtyard is a project of the CMC Auxiliary and was funded through donations totaling about $4,500.

“It’s something we’ve always wanted to do,” said Vanessa McKinney, director of volunteer services for CMC.

McKinney said the courtyard will provide a great place for outdoor patient therapy. Until now, she said, the only place patients could be taken was the hospital’s parking lot. The enclosed area, located just off the 200 Hall, will be free from the distractions of traffic.

“Besides medical healing, this is also a place of spiritual healing,” said Master Gardener Ann Baker, who was helping put finishing touches on the garden Tuesday. “It’s going to be a quiet place — a place for meditation.”

Chilton County Master Gardener Peggie Harris helps water plants Tuesday at the new Chilton Medical Center courtyard.

Added Master Gardener Peggie Harris, “It’s an outstanding area for the whole community.”

Just steps away from patients’ rooms lies a network of concrete walkways surrounding a gazebo and lined with benches and colorful plants. At the far end stands a large, wooden cross in an area designed for prayer and spiritual reflection.

McKinney called the effort a “community project” and said the names of people who contributed are so numerous that she could not name them all.

“I’m just very, very proud to live in a community that wants to give back. It’s just great,” she said.

A dedication ceremony will be held Sunday, Oct. 17 at 2 p.m. in the courtyard. Refreshments will follow in the CMC cafeteria.

“We do ask the public to come out and help us celebrate and dedicate this courtyard/prayer garden,” McKinney said.