McGAHEE: Preparing for our future

James McGahee 

I was very pleased that the Bud Dasher Family, The Valdosta Daily Times and the South Georgia Medical Center Foundation included in the  obituaries the fact that Mr. Bud Dasher Jr. and his wife, Mrs. Audrey Dasher, made a significant contribution to the SGMC Foundation in order for SGMC to establish the Open Heart Program and build the Dasher Heart Center at SGMC.

The Heart Center at SGMC saved lives, created job opportunities for highly educated people and provided growth to the City of Valdosta both medically and financially.

Mr. Dasher and I talked many times about Valdosta’s assets. He grew up in Valdosta and watched it build a university, a technical college, an airport, a medical center, a military base, railroad pathways through Valdosta from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and a multitude of businesses and industries.

Mr. Dasher knew how important a medical heart center is. His contribution and dedicated time encouraging other Valdostans to help build the Dasher Heart Center resulted in making SGMC the regional hospital of Southwest Georgia. I was pleased that a community hospital became a regional hospital with the support of the Dasher family and community citizens.

Recently and unfortunately Valdosta lost an opportunity to bring a medical college to Valdosta. Southwest Georgia needed a medical school. I am not happy that Moultrie, instead of Valdosta, is developing a medical school but I hope it meets our needs at SGMC and throughout Southwest Georgia.

As for the future of Valdosta, I am pleased that the chamber of commerce, VSU, Wiregrass, the county, the city, SGMC and other interested parties have created One Valdosta-Lowndes to grow and prepare for the future of Valdosta.

Technology is growing in leaps and bounds and entrepreneurs are creating technology. Like Mr. Dasher said, “We know we need a heart center, so let’s get it done.” 

My point is we know we need an incubator for entrepreneurs. Technology will create the jobs. That being said, as Mr. Dasher said, “let’s help make it happen.”

I am pleased that the chamber of commerce has worked hard over the last few years to create an incubator. VSU and Wiregrass have created the entrepreneur programs. What our city needs now is an incubator. What the chamber needs now is contributions and donations to make it happen.

A leader like Mr. Dasher, hopefully will step forward and encourage those who can, make a contribution for completion of the incubator for our city.

Even health care is being driven by technology. We missed out on getting a medical school in Valdosta so I hope we rally to support the much needed incubator for future entrepreneurs.

I truly thank Mr. Bud Dasher and his family for supporting the Medical Heart Center at SGMC. Our city and its citizens greatly benefit from having the Dasher Heart Center. I hope we support the future of our city by supporting the incubator that will be the center of future jobs.

James McGahee is retired chief executive officer of South Georgia Medical Center.

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