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FirstHealth of the Carolinas
The chairmen of the boards

The chairmen of the boards

(FirstHealth of the Carolinas periodically profiles its volunteer leadership, and this issue features the chairs of the FirstHealth of the Carolinas Board of Directors and the Montgomery Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees. The chairs of the Moore Regional Hospital and Richmond Memorial Hospital boards will be featured in the fall magazine.)

FirstHealth of the Carolinas
H. Edward Barnes Jr.

By Brenda Bouser

PINEHURST—The word “service” comes up a lot during a conversation with Ed Barnes.

It’s something he feels strongly about, believes in and encourages.

“We have an obligation, moral or whatever, to give back to the community,” he says.

Now in his second three-year term on the FirstHealth of the Carolinas Board of Directors, Barnes has been board chair since 2006 and previously was vice chair for two years. He also served as chair and vice chair during two three-year terms with the Moore Regional Hospital Board of Trustees.

He enjoys these volunteer leadership roles, not only because of the opportunity to serve the community in which he lives, but also because of the chance to work with so many gifted people.

“We have so much talent in this area,” he says. “We are fortunate to have people who are so generous with their time. That says a lot about FirstHealth.”

According to FirstHealth CEO Charles T. Frock, Barnes is the quintessential FirstHealth volunteer—smart, energetic and dedicated to the cause.

“FirstHealth’s core purpose is ‘to care for people,’” says Frock, “and I can’t think of anyone who exemplifies that better than Ed Barnes. He’s a cheerleader for FirstHealth.”

Furniture business background
Born and raised in Bassett, Va., just six miles from Martinsville and its famous speedway, H. Edward Barnes Jr. grew up around the furniture business. “I actually went to work when I was 15 building mirror frames,” he says.

He also had an early taste for politics and spent two memorable weeks as a teenager serving as a page in Virginia’s State House. Virginia Governor Thomas B. Stanley, the founder of Stanley Furniture, was a family acquaintance.

“I’ve always taken a special interest in politics,” Barnes says. “I’ve just never had the time to run for anything.”

Barnes turned down an appointment to West Point to attend N.C. State, where he earned a degree in industrial engineering and economics before setting out on a career in the furniture industry. During almost 40 years with the business, Barnes lived in numerous locations in Virginia and North Carolina before settling in Moore County about 16 years ago.

He spent four years as division manager for Baker Furniture and then 35 years with Stanley Furniture, retiring as vice president-production with responsibility for Stanley’s Lexington and West End plants.

But, he says, “I wasn’t ready to retire.”

The furniture business was headed off-shore, and jobs were going with it. Barnes was given the choice of going, too, “to China or wherever,” he says, or giving up the career he had known for so long.

He chose the latter.

He had tired of plant-closings and the residual effects on their communities, and he was ready for something more personally fulfilling. “I realized there was more I could do as a volunteer,” he says.

Life as a volunteer
By the time Barnes turned his attention to Moore Regional Hospital and FirstHealth of the Carolinas, volunteering was nothing new to him. He had already spent 10 years as chairman of the Henry County Planning Commission in Martinsville, six years on the board of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce in Murphy, and three years as a Foundation Board member with Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.

The volunteer move to the not-for-profit FirstHealth was a logical one for Barnes, who after a lifetime in business had had his fill of addressing forprofit boards and their bottom lines.

“You have more freedom to do the right thing for the long term,” he says of the not-for-profit world. “At FirstHealth, we have a lot of responsibility to the citizens of the areas we serve. I take that responsibility very seriously. We have an obligation to have the best health care possible.”

Barnes believes very strongly that an organization serves its community best by recruiting good people—professionals and volunteers alike. He is especially proud of the fact that the men and women who serve on FirstHealth’s boards and committees represent such a cross-section of their communities.

“They are from their communities, and they know their communities’ needs,” he says.

He is also impressed by FirstHealth’s professional talent. “We are blessed to have wonderful doctors, very caring nurses and hospital employees working together within a community that gives very generously of its time and financial resources,” he says. “I also continue to be impressed with the depth of the management level at FirstHealth. Chuck Frock has a wonderful vision of what FirstHealth should be, and he has surrounded himself with the talent necessary to execute this vision.”

Life beyond FirstHealth
Although he spends much of his time on FirstHealth matters, Barnes manages to stay active in a variety of other ways, too. He and his wife, the former Louise Sherron of Raleigh, have been married 42 years, live in Pinehurst and attend Pinehurst’s First Baptist Church. They have one son, H. Edward Barnes III, who lives in High Point with his wife and three children.

Barnes stays fit by way of golf, “a lot of golf, three or four days a week,” he says, and daily walks with his dog, a West Highland White he calls Miss Meggie. “We walk two or three miles a day, every day, rain or shine,” he says. “Meggie and I take the umbrella and off we go.”

Whatever the task or activity, his day is guided by the simple tenets of the Golden Rule.

Montgomery Memorial Hospital:
Ron Capel

By Brenda Bouser

TROY—Ron Capel and his wife left a recent program about a new service at FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital excited about what they had just heard.

“Amanda and I were pinching ourselves when we left,” he says.

There is a reason that Capel, the chair of the Montgomery Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, and his wife were so interested in the hospital’s new Breast Health Program and its medical director, Dennis Devereux, M.D. Both of their mothers have had breast cancer.

“It’s very exciting,” Capel says of the program. “We now have a topnotch surgeon who not only practices but lives in the community. We are extremely happy about having Dr. Devereux here.”

Capel is excited about a lot of things that are going on at the hospital. The new Breast Health Program, which promises a quick diagnostic turnaround and treatment plan to women with breast health issues, is just one of them. A new Wound Care Center also opened recently, and the hospital is recruiting other physicians whose practices will give Montgomery County residents the access to specialized care in their own community.

“It’s an exciting time for Montgomery Memorial Hospital,” Capel says. (Hospital President) Kerry Hensley is an outstanding leader. She does a terrific job leading our hospital, and she’s done a terrific job bringing a lot of quality representation to the Montgomery Memorial Hospital Board.”

Hensley is just as pleased about Capel’s board service. “Ron has served as chair of the FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Board since January 2006,” she says. “Prior to this, he served as vice chair of the board as well as chair of the Finance Committee. We appreciate his interest and time investment in learning more about health-care quality. As members of the FirstHealth staff, we think about quality all the time. It is made much more meaningful when the board and medical staff are interested, too.”

A hometown boy
Ron Capel, or more formally Arron William Elijah Capel III, is deeply rooted in the Montgomery County community. In 1917, his grandfather, Arron Leon Capel, started a braided rug company that now includes national wholesale and retail sales operations as well as an import division that does business in India, Pakistan, Belgium, Turkey and China.

A Montgomery County native, Capel joined the family firm after graduating from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1986. When he moved into the retail division, the company had two stores. There are now 11—from Greenville, N.C., and Greenville, S.C., to Lexington, Ky., Indianapolis and Dallas.

Nine are company run, and two are franchises, and Capel now manages the division.

The retail store in Troy sits across Highway 24/27 from the Montgomery County Courthouse in a once-dilapidated car dealership. Then a community eyesore, it is now a bustling marketplace for locals and tourists alike who are seeking world-famous Capel rugs for their homes and businesses.

Fifty people man the offices at the Capel manufacturing plant a few miles away, while 280 others work inside the plant itself. Another 100 people work in Capel retail operations.

Although the sales operations are nationally far-flung, the heart of Capel Rugs remains where the company was born 90 years ago this year.

“We still make the rugs here in Troy,” Capel says.

Community volunteerism
The Capel name has long been connected with community projects. The Capel Charitable Trust has helped fund many of them, including what is now FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital, and members of the Capel family—both male and female—have served with distinction on the boards of Montgomery Community College and the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

Capel followed his uncle, Len, in hospital board service. He has been a member of the hospital board for seven years, beginning his service on the Patient Care Committee.

He is now in his second year as board chair.

Capel and his wife, Amanda, live in Troy with their 18-month-old daughter, Britton Emily. He is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, and has chaired the Methodist Church Trustee Board. He also serves on Troy’s Town Planning Board and has been an alumni representative on the board of Pinehurst’s O’Neal School, where he attended school from the fourth grade through high school.

Before his daughter’s arrival encouraged him to curtail his volunteer activities in favor of more family time, he coached Little League.

Hospital board service
Capel was participating in the Montgomery County Leadership Institute when an acquaintance and fellow participant suggested him for hospital board service. He was immediately interested.

“It was an opportunity to volunteer and to learn from another organization,” he says. “That’s what I find to be terrific about FirstHealth. It’s a top-notch organization, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount just being involved in the meetings.”

According to Capel, the hospital’s association with FirstHealth has allowed the hometown Montgomery Memorial, not to mention Montgomery County, to flourish in many ways and for many reasons. Chief among them are the effect on the community’s quality of life and health-care needs.

“All of these things contribute to a real quality facility here,” he says.

The concept of “quality” characterizes Capel’s tenure on the Montgomery Memorial Board. He also serves on FirstHealth’s QualityFirst Committee, a group comprised of the board chairs of all of the FirstHealth entities.

Under the leadership of FirstHealth’s vice president of quality, Cindy McNeill- McDonald, the committee has embarked on an ambitious goal of setting benchmarks that, according to Capel, “are not average, not above average, but to be the best of the best.”

“The purpose is to improve the quality of all FirstHealth services,” he says. “It’s our goal as board members to be stewards of these goals and to assure the quality of the service we provide.”