The Great Falls Clinic Legacy Foundation is pleased to announce our groundbreaking event took place on September 18th, 2020. The Foundation’s groundbreaking was for the Harold & Carmen Poulsen Legacy Housing Facility. The facility will provide free, temporary patient housing facility, a project which has been in the works since 2017. With this exciting news, construction has now officially begun and is slated to conclude summer 2021.
At the groundbreaking event, CEO of the Great Falls Clinic and board member of the Legacy Foundation, Vicki Newmiller, recognized the journey of the capital campaign, which was first created in 2015. The Legacy Foundation initially launched its capital campaign in July 2017 due to a generous $1 million donation from Carmen Poulsen in memory of her husband Harold Poulsen. Ms. Newmiller thanked Josh Devos with Dick Anderson Construction, who has helped the Foundation prepare for construction. She also thanked David Cantley with LPW Architecture, who has worked tirelessly with the Great Falls Clinic on facility projects in the past, and now on this new facility. Mary Willmarth was also recognized for her service to the Foundation as their capital campaign consultant. Ms. Newmiller recognized Chairman, Ed Venetz for his guidance and also thanked and addressed board members: Vice Chair Tim Peterson, Treasurer Amy Byrd, Secretary Wyman Taylor, Reed Bassett, Greg Schwandt, Brad Livingston, Dr. Thomas Warr, Dr. Karl Guter, and Dr. Robert Henderson. Ms. Newmiller gave special thanks to the Foundation’s Executive Director, Samantha Shinaberger, “She’s been here since day one with us. She is such a leader and is so passionate. Any of you who know her, know her tenacity, know her passion, and we are so thrilled to have her with us.”
Dr. Karl Guter, long-time oncologist with the Great Falls Clinic, recognized the past and current board presidents: past chair Wyman Taylor and current chair Ed Venetz, for their wisdom and leadership. “I embrace this project and I expect more positive changes on the campus and Clinic going forward,” shared Dr. Guter, before thanking all donors, both large and small. “[I] view the facility as a logical extension of our ongoing patient care, and it provides a unique service to our community and region.”
Chairman Ed Venetz added, he first heard of the Legacy Foundation when he was receiving radiation treatment at the Great Falls Clinic. His radiation oncologist, Dr. Kelly Underhill, approached him about the Foundation, and soon after he joined the board, later becoming its second chair/president. While Mr. Venetz lived in Great Falls while receiving his cancer treatment, he had heard stories from other patients about how they were struggling to find and pay for lodging. He would later experience what it was like to live in a separate town a couple of years later, when his granddaughter received a cancer diagnosis at 2 months old. Mr. Venetz and his wife packed up and lived in Denver for two months in motels to stay close to family. “I know how [cancer] affects families and patients. I couldn’t be happier that we are able to [start the groundbreaking today]. We have a great board, [and] we have great donors.”
After speeches concluded, the board, Executive Director and Carmen Poulsen gathered to break ground.
The Legacy Foundation thanks their event sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, Dick Anderson Construction, Great Falls Clinic and Stockman Bank.