Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
This week an era ended at Highland Hospital in Charleston. After 40 years, yes, that’s 4-0 of volunteer service to the organization; James H. Dissen Esq. has retired as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Highland Hospital. Jim has given unselfishly to this organization in so many ways. We had a small party at our Board meeting on Tuesday, but that in no way expresses the depth of our gratitude to Jim for all that he has done.
As you may or may not know, Jim was not only the Chair of our Board of Directors. During a time when Dave McWatters, our long time CEO was ill, Jim stepped in and served as our President and CEO for a bit more than a year, guiding the organization through a time of immense change as we acclimated to our new hospital. As Chairman of the Board, he guided the organization through other expansions as well, including the establishment of the Highland Clarksburg Hospital which is now independently serving those in North Central West Virginia with mental health needs. Jim served that hospital as founding President and CEO and Board Chairman. He served in different capacities on our Highland Behavioral Health Services, Inc. board, our Highland Health Center, Inc. board, and our HHA, Inc. oversight board. Jim and his wife Shirley gave generously to our building fund to support children’s mental health services.
For giving so selflessly, we salute Jim. At his impromptu party at the Board of Directors meeting this week, we presented him with a plaque that contained these words by Robert F. Kennedy- “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” We couldn’t have chosen a more fitting quote for Jim—his service to the Highland Companies has demonstrated his commitment to making the world a better place for those with mental health needs. Please join us in thanking Jim for his years of service, and his dedication to making this world a better place. I know that many lives have been transformed by his leadership and dedication. Jim—enjoy your retirement—you’ve earned it!