Tom and Joan Searcy have been involved with Seton since their church started offering free childcare one morning a week, during which Joan would go to Seton Medical Center Austin to volunteer. Not much has changed for Tom and Joan despite having four kids and many grandkids, they still find themselves enjoying what little spare time they have roaming the halls of Seton Medical Center Hays (SMCH). They are enjoying the slower pace of Hays County after moving to a ranch in Kyle when Tom retired. Tom recalled how small Hays County was 30 years ago when they first moved to the area; “When we got here, there was one doc in Kyle and one doc in Buda. Even 10 years ago, there was only one doc in town.” When they learned Seton was planning to add a hospital in Kyle, Tom jumped at the opportunity to sit on the Seton Hays Foundation Board and recruit volunteers for the new hospital. “We had 40 volunteers when the hospital first opened in 2009, and there are still a handful of us originals.” Now with 40+ doctors and recently launching a Level II Trauma Center, making it the only hospital operating as a Level II Trauma Center between Austin and San Antonio, it’s clear to the Searcys that SMCH has had a huge impact on the community.
In the last 9 years, Tom and Joan’s dedication to SMCH has not wavered. They can still be found every Monday and Wednesday in the SMCH Emergency Department(ED). They are grateful for the ability to make an impact on each patient’s experience. Tom works the front desk greeting patients as they walk into the ED and escorts them around the hospital. Tom enjoys the fast pace of the ED and it keeps him on his toes, “My partner turned his pedometer on, and it said he walked 3 miles in one shift!” Joan helps patients feel comfortable in their rooms by bringing them pillows and blankets, “I’m the best gofer you can find.” She also helps clean the rooms after patients are discharged to help the nurses and doctors focus on patients. “It’s good to be alive and be able to do this at our age,” said Joan and Tom, now 80 and 77. Tom and Joan not only help the patients; they help the staff. The SMCH ED is currently seeing an average of 160+ patients a day and without the hard work of knowledgeable, well trained and high energy volunteers patient satisfaction would suffer. Tom and John improve every patients experience from the moment they walk in the door till the moment they leave.
The Searcys have invested not only their time, but also in the growth of the hospital. Tom and Joan established the Searcy Family Health Professions Scholarship Endowment, which recently provided four Seton Hays employees with a $5,000 scholarship each to further their education. For Tom, “everybody benefits from a good education” and “we want to take care of our nurses that help make this hospital so great,” says Joan. Their generosity is fueling the next chapter for SMCH. Their gifts do not stop there. In naming The Searcy Family Learning Centers at SMCH they provided the final funding needed for a teleconferencing center and they consistently sponsor the Seton South Market Gala among other small projects.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away,” William Shakespeare. Tom and Joan have shared their gift with the patients and staff of Seton for decades. Seton is better because of them. The commitment of donors and volunteers like the Searcys, allow Seton to carry out its mission to provide high quality care to all persons with special attention to the poor or vulnerable. When asked why they give so much to make SMCH a special place, they could not have provided a more humble answer, “It beats twiddling our thumbs.”