Happy near a century!

KAPAA — Elaine Morita, who retired from Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital earlier this year, said she’s hoping to be around for two more years.

That’s when the hospital hits the big 100.

In the meantime, it celebrated turning 98 Friday, which is pretty impressive in its own right.

“This is the 98th anniversary so it’s not something big,” said Josie Pablo, Mahelona Hospital recreation director. “We’ll have a big celebration in two years when we celebrate the 100th anniversary.”

The hospital’s staff and residents took time out to observe the anniversary with cake and ice cream donated by Meadow Gold.

“The first patient was admitted on July 19, 1917,” Pablo said. “That was the year the hospital was completed.”

Mahelona Hospital, a part of the Kauai Region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, was started in 1915, when Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Wilcox made a gift of $25,000 to build and equip a 50-bed tuberculosis hospital as a memorial to Samuel Mahelona, son of Mrs. A.S. Wilcox, who died of tuberculosis in 1912 at the age of 28.

The 1915 Legislature passed Act 55 setting aside 120 acres of land for the hospital and construction started in 1916.

In 1996, the Mahelona Medical Center became part of the Kauai Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. and has continued to grow, including the addition of its 24-hour Emergency Services and five acute care beds.

The hospital includes the East Kauai Clinic, Hoola Lahui Hawaii, a health clinic, the Kauai Police Activities League, and state and hospital housing. It employs nearly 145 people.

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