Surprise speaker honors Gettys at retirement dinner

EASLEY — Quint Studer, founder of StuderGroup and preeminent national healthcare consultant of the decade, honored Baptist Easley CEO Roddey E. Gettys, III, at his retirement dinner Friday at the Madren Center in Clemson.

Studer completed a line-up of personalities well-known to Gettys and in healthcare statewide.

Studer reminisced about Gettys being inducted into the Healthcare Hall of Fame and the many awards Baptist Easley Hospital won under Gettys’ leadership, including being the only three-time winner of the Firestarter of the Month award.

Mostly, however, Studer remembered Gettys personally and likened him to George Bailey in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Gettys has “saved a lot of people’s lives,” Studer said. “He’s been there to lend a hand to anyone in trouble. He gave people jobs and made a difference in their lives. People were able to buy homes because they had jobs at Baptist Easley that Roddey kept safe for them.”

Speaker Edward Stall remembered when Gettys told him 25 years ago that he wanted to “make Baptist Easley the best 100-bed hospital in the state…no, the world.”

Then Stall read headlines since Dec. 4, 2012, announcing Baptist Easley as a Top Hospital (by the Leapfrog Group), the only one in the state.

“Roddey and his team have made the greatest healthcare in the world possible right here in Easley,” Stall said.

Other speakers honoring Gettys were Chuck Beaman, CEO of Palmetto Health, Mike Riordan, CEO of Greenville Hospital System, Calvin Elam, President of the Palmetto Richland Board of Directors, and Edward Stall, principal of Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP. Thornton Kirby, president of the South Carolina Hospital Association, was master of ceremonies.

Gettys was presented with two resolutions: one by Palmetto Health Board of Directors chairman Freedie Freeman in honor of Gettys’ 43 years of service, and another from the South Carolina state legislature and presented by Senator Larry Martin, Representative Phil Owens, and Representative Davey Hiott.

Baptist Easley board member Tom O’Hanlan concluded the honors with a surprise announcement of a scholarship fund created in Gettys’ name for a deserving student in a nursing or clinical healthcare field. Pickens County High School students and employees and family members of employees at Baptist Easley Hospital are eligible. The fund kicked off with 100 percent participation by the Baptist Easley Board of Directors and leadership with an amount of $40,378. Attendees were encouraged to make gifts as well.