Macke family donation to help establish SMCH’s Rehab Services Center

The Macke family donated a farm to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital. Proceeds from the sale of the land will be used to build a Rehab Services Center at the hospital. Pictured left to right are Missy Knowles, Jim Steinkamp, Andy Melody, Kelly Addison, Lisa Beyerink, Courtney Schreck, Jesse Underwood, Faye Huster, Dylan Addison, Jo Grodahl, Tony Macke, Gus Macke, Nancy Macke, Branden Roberts, Jim Henkenius, Gary Schenkelberg, Cindy Carstens, Rachel Judisch, Lisa Findley, Stephanie Burns, Kristi Macke and Marc Melody. [Provided photo]


A gift from Nancy and Gus Macke will establish a rehab services center at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) in Lake City.

The couple, who have lived in Lake City since 1971, have a long history in Lake City. Along with owning a home and property, they own and operate Macke Motors, Inc., which sells both new and used inventory along with a full-service and body shop.

The Mackes are known for their philanthropy and their work in the business world.

“Lake City is an amazing community to live in and raise a family,” Nancy said.

When the couple started their family, they chose SMCH for their obstetric care.

Gus jokes that back then, he made a deal with Dr. Cesar Cardenas.

“In those days I think we could have a baby for $600,” Gus said. “When he last traded for a car, I think that maybe Dr. Cardenas owes us a baby.”

The Mackes have a strong love for the South Central Calhoun Community School District.

“Our school system is off-the-chart whether you’re talking academics, sports or fine arts,” Gus said.

He is particularly proud to have been the voice of the Titan football games for the last 45 years. Being a part of that team has exposed Gus to the work Stewart Memorial Rehabilitation Services does with the school.

The hospital’s physical therapists work closely with athletes who have incurred injuries.

Jill Birks provides sideline support at weekly football games, while Branden Roberts and Luke Larson work with student athletes twice a week to assess and treat injuries before they become more serious. Speech pathologist Rachel Judisch is a coach for the track and field teams at SCC High School.

Over the years, both Gus and Nancy have utilized the physical therapy services at the hospital next door to their business. After Gus’ knee replacement surgery, he visited the department often.

“Branden and the crew were excellent,” Gus said. “It was painful, but they were so good and handy.”

He notes that while the care was top-notch, the space was small and not very private. He thought the department needed a remodel. Nancy had physical therapy for her shoulder and noticed how close-knit the staff is, but she agrees they need more space and privacy.

In 2017, hospital leaders began planning a renovation and expansion project, which would include expanding the Emergency and Outpatient Service departments to improve the patient experience and privacy.

To Gus and Nancy, the project makes sense.

“To stay competitive, you need to change your image every five years,” Gus said. “It works on several levels: you stay viable to current customers, you appeal to people on the edge of your service area, and you’re able to attract high quality medical professionals. Doctors can practice anywhere, but making their surroundings visually appealing can make a difference in them wanting to practice here.”

The new Rehab center, which will be named in honor of the philanthropic couple, will include services for traditional and niche therapy interventions.

SMCH therapists have completed advanced training in the areas of lymphedema, pelvic dysfunction, vertigo, industrial rehab, Graston technique, functional dry needling and myofascial release.

The couple decided to make a generous gift to the hospital.

“We had a farm in Greene County that we decided to donate to Stewart Memorial,” Gus said. “It’s a good, inside farm and it should bring a good price.”

“The Stewart Memorial Community Foundation is blessed to have this wonderful family and community leader as a part of our future,” said Jesse Underwood, Fundation director at SMCH. “This gift from Nancy and Gus ignites the fundraising campaign for our Putting People First project. The impacting difference this contribution will make for our patients and community will last for generations.”

The gift represents an investment for the couple into the high quality healthcare available a few steps from their business.

“I know I can come here in just minutes if something were to happen to our family or employees,” Nancy said.

The emergency department will be moved adjacent to the patient wing, along with the heli-pad. The location will allow for nursing staff to be utilized more efficiently and securely. The addition of private treatment rooms in the ER will increase privacy for patients.

“Our community has two great things going for it: our school system and our hospital,” said Gus. “We have to protect that. Nancy and I are doing everything we can to make sure those two institutions survive well into the future.”

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital Foundation invites individuals to contact Foundation director Jesse Underwood for more information about investing in the future of quality healthcare by calling (712) 464-4117.


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