CEO Message to the Community – February 2023

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Emergency Department Expansion

Emergency Dept Rehab - Roof WrappingConstruction on the Grace Cottage Emergency Department expansion began during the first week of January and the mild winter weather so far (with the notable exception of February 3-4, when wind chills dipped to minus 45 here in Townshend!) has been beneficial. The walls are up, the roof is on, and the photo here shows the progress that’s been made in just 6 weeks!

Meanwhile, the Emergency Department remains fully open, with a temporary entrance though the glassed-in Nessel Pavilion. Extensive signage indicates parking and access for patients coming into the Emergency Department. Thank you for being patient with us as we grow our way to a bigger and better ED!

We want to thank the many generous donors have have helped to make this project possible!

Safety Measures

I’m very pleased to announce that Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital has signed a contract with the Windham County Sheriff’s Department to have a full-time Deputy Sheriff stationed on our campus. Deputy Sheriff Robert O’Connor has been here since January 30th.  His office is on campus, and his patrol car is in the driveway in front of the Heins Building on Route 35.  Among his other duties, Deputy Sheriff O’Connor patrols the Grace Cottage buildings and grounds during the day, responding to any calls that he receives for assistance, and issuing tickets to speeders in Townshend. As always, if you have an emergency, call 911.


Three years in, and I so wish I didn’t have to keep bringing this up but, as a hospital administrator, keeping our community healthy is our highest priority. During the past 28 days, 14,319 people in the U.S. have died of COVID-19 and most of us have friends and family members who, after dodging the virus for three years, are now contracting it. Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. George Terwilliger, has said from the beginning of this pandemic that it’s not a question of “if” all of us will eventually get COVID-19, but “when.” Therefore, he highly recommends that, even if you’ve already had the virus, that you create a “COVID-19 Action Plan,” using this template provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

As you resume your activities and identify your priorities, keep in mind that everyone’s choices are different. It will take time to recover from living through three years of a world-wide pandemic, and to adjust to a “new normal.” Keep in mind that those around you are in as much of a state of flux as you are. The important thing is to do what makes you feel safe, and allow others to do the same. If you don’t choose to go to crowded indoor gatherings, or if you choose to wear a mask in public places, no apology is necessary. Your health and safety should be your highest priority.

Grace Cottage’s “Cabin Fever” Online Auction: February 14-27

Cabin Fever 2023Grace Cottage’s annual Cabin Fever Auction offers over 130 items donated by generous businesses and individuals, with all proceeds benefitting Grace Cottage’s Patient Care Fund.  This Online Auction may be our best yet, given the wide variety of items that have been donated this year!

From 8:00 a.m. on February 14, until 8:00 p.m. on February 27, you can browse and bid on items for every taste and budget, including treasures you can’t buy anywhere else. Auction items range in value from $20 to Priceless, from the practical to the sublime.

Bid to win art; stay in a luxurious Caribbean resort, a South African safari adventure, or a trip to Vietnam; or win gift certificates to favorite local restaurants; practical items like an oil change for your car; overnight stays in area inns; training for your dog; and lots more! Bid low and get notified when someone outbids you, or “Buy Now” and make it yours right away! Either way, you’ll feel good supporting this annual fundraiser, knowing that it’s going to help Grace Cottage care for our patients.

Check out the selection at and register to bid so that you can start bidding tomorrow morning! Note that many items include the “Buy Now” feature so that, if there’s something that you just must have, you can donate a larger amount to Grace Cottage and, at the same time, get what you want immediately, without taking time to engage in the lengthy bidding process.

– Doug DiVello, President & CEO
Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital