Baptist Easley dedicates eternal flame in honor of ‘remarkable human being’ Cam Underhill

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Cam Underhill may be gone, but her light shines on at Baptist Easley.

She is remembered as a caring nurse, administrator, encouraging leader and dear friend.

A crowd, including Underhill’s family and friends, gathered at the employee entrance of the hospital Friday afternoon to honor Underhill, who passed away in 2007 after battling cancer.

An eternal flame has been created at the entrance in Underhill’s memory.

Quint Studer, founder of Studer Group, remembered Underhill as “a remarkable humans being” and “a fire starter.”

Quint Studer“In earliest civilization, they had people that kept the flame alive,” Studer said. “If those people didn’t keep the flame alive, civilization would have ended. In healthcare, we need fire starters. We need people to keep the flame alive.”

In healthcare, “there are winds,” Studer said. “There’s external pressures we don’t plan on. There’s internal challenges. There’s ups and downs. There’s times when you get a little bit off-track. There’s times when you go a little backwards.”

Quint Studer, founder of Studer Group, shared memories of Cam Underhill and her passion for helping others before an eternal flame was lit in her memory last week at Baptist Easley Hospital.

Underhill and hospital staff worked with Studer Group to increase satisfaction scores at the hospital. Studer dedicated one of his books to her.

“Your values bring you back to home,” he said. “There’s probably no better place with stronger values than Baptist Easley.”

Underhill was recognized with many awards throughout her career, including the Golden Palmetto in 2002, Director of the Year in 2003, the Studer Group’s prestigious Flame Award in 2005 and the YMCA of Greenville Dream Achiever in 2007.

The employee entrance at Baptist Easley Hospital has eight pillars, each displaying a different word, Baptist Easley director Brian Finley said. As employees come in, they see the words “Inspire,” “Heal,” “Honor” and “Serve.”

“So when employees come in, that’s the focus, that’s what you should be focusing your attention to,” Finley said.

Employees see a different set of words as they leave the hospital.

“After you do such great work, you should be leaving and you should be thinking about renewing your promise or commitment,” Finley said. “‘Peace of mind’ — we should all have peace of mind that we gave our very best. ‘Passionate’ — we want everybody to do worthwhile work and be very passionate about that. And then ‘Dream.’ One thing that never fails to amaze me was the dream we had when Cam was here and what we continue to do when Cam left us.”

After her cancer metastasized, Underhill drove to the airport in Columbia to meet with Studer.

“Cam had two major concerns on her mind,” Studer said. “One was her children — what’s going to happen to them, how are they going to be? Never talked about herself, never talked about her cancer, never talked about her death. She talked about what’s going to happen with her children and everything she could do to make sure that transition was as soft as it could possibly be.

“But being Cam, she also asked me if I had any new information on physician relations, because that’s what she was working on at the time,” Studer continued.

The flame and the employee entrance will remind everyone to keep Underhill’s work going, the speakers agreed.

“We thought it was very important, just because of Cam’s legacy, to do something that she was very passionate about, and that’s give great patient care,” Finley said. “No matter what was going on, she constantly thought about the patient, the physicians, the staff, her family — that’s what kept driving her.”

“She was selfless in her service and was always seeking to enlarge the circle of leadership and influence,” Dr. Walter Coleman said during his invocation. “She sought to make every effort better and more solid through love and grace. We are recipients of her legacy of light. This flame will serve as a constant reminder of that legacy. “

“Cam Underhill will never be away from you, never be away from our family, never be away from us,” Studer said. “I’ve often heard the only legacy we really have is the people we touch. If that is true, and I believe it is, Cam Underhill leaves an unbelievable legacy because of the many people that she has touched.”

A plaque with Underhill’s picture and the words “Keep the Flame Burning” will be placed near the eternal flame.