Quality team: Parker, staff look to the future

Published 9:14 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2006

By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
Phillip Parker has a long history with D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital, and he and his team are working to ensure the medical facility has a bright future.
The administrator first began working at the hospital in 1970, as a part-time employee in the pharmacy.
D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital - which will celebrate National Hospital Week next week - was founded in 1954 and has seen many changes over the years. The hospital has expanded into a state-of-the-art facility employing some 300 people today.
After growing to include new departments and expanding to add both space and new equipment, and hospital leaders are constantly considering what the future holds.
The hospital board has authorized a master plan for the hospital for the next few years, Parker said.
New technology and an aging population are among the factors driving the changes, Parker said.
The new plan for the hospital may mean remodeling, rebuilding or just adding on, but the time has come, according to Parker, to do a study to determine what is needed. The hospital just finished renovating the obstetrics wing, and hospital officials found that sometimes it's hard to utilize the old infrastructure in new development.
D.W. McMillan is owned by the county under the Escambia County Health Care Authority.
Parker was born in the old Escambia Hospital on Douglas Avenue, which is now known as the Holley House.
He and his sister, Beth Parker Bain, were raised on McMillan Avenue where they moved in 1952.
He attended the city school system and graduated from T.R. Miller High School in 1965.
Early on Parker had an idea of what he wanted to do with his life. He and schoolmate Hubbard Owens both decided to attend Auburn's pharmacy school.
Parker returned home to work at Jennings Pharmacy, which was located behind the hospital.
The Vietnam war was under way and Parker had a low draft number, so he decided to return to Auburn University to get a commission. He earned his graduate degree and graduated as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was sent to Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga., for the next two years. He married Ruth Jernigan, a Brewton native, in 1971 and their first child, John, was born in 1973 in Augusta.
Parker returned to Brewton when his two years in the military were up. He worked with Hubbard Owens at Moorman Drug Store in downtown Brewton.
So Parker returned in 1979 and was Griffin's assistant until 1994. At that time Griffin retired and Parker became the administrator.
Ruth Parker retired from teaching at Brewton Elementary School this past year. Parker said most of her time and his, too, when he has the time, is spent with their three granddaughters.
And most of the time, Parker can still be found at the hospital.

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