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