A special Sabbath service at Tillamook Adventist Church on Nov. 11, 2023 capped a year-long 50th anniversary celebration of Adventist healthcare in Tillamook, Oregon.
The word “community” reverberated among the current and previous hospital employees who gathered to reminisce and celebrate. “What has happened at this hospital has taken everyone pulling together,” said one employee.
“When I lost my son, this place became my family,” said another.
On Aug. 15, 1973, Adventist Health Tillamook began management of Tillamook County General Hospital. Since then, Adventist Health Tillamook has grown to provide care for more than 100,000 patients each year. The 25-bed critical access facility has Level 4 Trauma Center designation and employs more than 550 associates and healthcare providers.
Adventist Health Tillamook operates a rural health medical office system with locations in Manzanita, Tillamook, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Vernonia, Sheridan, Welches and Estacada. In 2023, Adventist Health Tillamook was recognized by Healthgrades with five-star ratings for critical care and labor and delivery.
“For 50 years, we have been dedicated to providing mission-driven, compassionate care to our community and visitors. This is an amazing accomplishment that would have been hard to envision back then, and I’m excited to see what our community health partnership looks like in the coming half-century,” said Eric Swanson, Adventist Health Tillamook president.
For Swanson, leading Adventist Health Tillamook has been a calling. He and his brother grew up riding along in the car and sometimes sleeping in the hospital lobby when their mom — a CRNA at the hospital — was called in for emergency surgeries. He worked two summers at the hospital during academy, three years during college and later was a paramedic and ambulance supervisor in Tillamook for seven years.
In 2009, when Adventist Health asked him to leave his job as a government CEO and come back to lead Adventist Health Tillamook, he didn’t hesitate for a moment.
“I absolutely love Adventist Health and our mission,” said Swanson. “Our mission — living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope — makes all the difference.”
The 50th anniversary Sabbath celebration included presentations by current and past employees and featured guest speaker, Alex Bryan, Adventist Health chief mission officer, and special music by Joyce Newmyer, Adventist Health chief people officer and Adventist Health Oregon State Network president.
“To be part of the jubilee celebration at Adventist Health Tillamook is a really special thing,” said Bryan. “The hands of God are on this place. The idea of God’s hands in our midst is powerful."
"The quality of the healthcare we provide is clear," continued Bryan, "but more importantly is the quality of our hands — the way we hold little ones when they are born and the hands of those who are dying, those who are grieving, those who are celebrating, those who hear good news and those who hear bad news — it’s the way God’s hands guide our hands that matters most of all.”