Members of the Gernon family gathered together this week to remember a husband, a father and a memorable patient at the Hiawatha Community Hospital Cardiac Rehab Center.

Charlene Gernon, along with sons Dr. Craig Gernon, M.D. = a cardiologist at the Cotton O’Neil Clinic in Topeka, and Dr. Crosby Gernon, M.D. — a radiologist with Hiawatha Community Hospital and the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City — had donated memorials gathered after the passing of John Gernon to the Cardiac Rehab Center to replace an older treadmill there.

Charlene said her husband had heart surgery 12 years ago and was an active cardiac rehab patient at the hospital. Members of the Hiawatha Community Hospital Auxiliary, who also attend cardiac rehab and found out there was a need for a treadmill.

HCH Auxiliary Coordinator Jan Hermesch said the Auxiliary works to raise money to replace equipment at the hospital, but said they try to rotate their funds raised among different departments. She said the Auxiliary had purchased equipment for the Cardiac Rehab Center not too long ago, so didn’t have the extra funds for the new treadmill. Hermesch said word of the need of a replacement treadmill got back to the Gernon family, who decided to donate memorials received after the passing of John Gernon to the program.

This came just in time for Cardiac Rehab Week at the hospital, said Marci Rottinghaus, director of the department. She said the treadmill is used by cardiac rehab patients and the extra treadmill is nice because patients were having to wait their turn due to the high patient volume. She said the new treadmill is much appreciated by the rehab staff and patients.

Family members of John Gernon say that throughout his life, Gernon ardently supported the Hiawatha Community Hospital professionally and personally. John served on the hospital board and was instrumental in physician recruitment for many years. As a lifelong resident of Hiawatha, John understood well how vital the Hiawatha Community Hospital is to the well being of Hiawatha and Brown County. John’s leadership will be missed.

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