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Powers: History should repeat itself, with DMC

Our community's growth always has run parallel with Mayo Clinic's. History should repeat itself.

Mayo always has had a deep partnership with the larger community. When the tornado struck Rochester in 1883, there was no established hospital. The need to build one was obvious, but the task seemed a bit daunting and unrealistic. Led by the Sisters of St. Francis and Mother Alfred Moes, a communitywide effort pulled everyone together.

As the story goes, the commitment to build Saint Marys Hospital, which launched the growth of our community, happened with a handshake, along with a heavy dose of faith, hope and perseverance.

Because our Canadian Honker Restaurant is across the street from Saint Marys, we have the unique privilege to see not only the faces of patients and their families but also of people who live and work here. It's beautiful to see how the two coexist. I was truly humbled and honored when Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy shared at the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting a tender story of how staff at Saint Marys came to us in response to a critically ill patient's request for a piece of pumpkin pie. That simple act led by the nurses and staff at Saint Marys engaged our staff, and it made a difference.

That story is one of many that happen each and every day that illustrate how our community works together.

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By definition, Destination Medical Center is our community's catalyst for continued prosperity, and our small businesses must be a driving force. We know many of the small business jobs needed for the future will come in the form of innovative entrepreneurs whose focus is on technological research and health care advancements. Those people may have been born here or in some other country. Let's remember many of the founders of Mayo Clinic were immigrants or the children of immigrants and came from outside our community. Diverse perspectives and experiences will provide important insight to care for patients, advance medical science and continue to grow our community.

Some wonder if thousands of new residents will change what we love about Rochester. As someone who was born and raised here, I can promise you: New people have been changing Rochester for the better forever. Dr. Mayo himself moved to Rochester. So if you like what you see, thank those who moved here years or decades ago.

Most important is the focus on repeating history and doing well by doing good. Mayo Clinic always has had a deep commitment to the humanity of its work. "The needs of the patients come first," patient welfare, altruism and teamwork are Mayo Clinic's primary values, and they have stood the test of time.

In an effort to paint the DMC vision, I think we've at times forgotten to tell humanity's side of the story, as this is the true reason to grow our community. Our humanity and values are what will bring us together and help clarify why we all need to work together to not only grow our community but to sustain it.

In this next phase of DMC, it is my hope the "people side" of our community's story will rise to the top and never will get lost. It's the stories about our businesses, government, communities of faith and our important nonprofits all coming together for the greater good. It's pumpkin pie and a whole lot more.

Dr. Mayo said to Mother Alfred that he thought Rochester was too small to support a hospital in 1883. Mother Alfred reassured the doctor, saying, "With our faith and hope and energy, it will succeed."

I'm with Mother Alfred and the vision set long ago for how our community can come together to support and sustain the growth of DMC. With our faith and hope and energy, it will succeed.

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