Unity Health President and CEO Ray Montgomery II FACHE and Trauma Coordinator Jasper Fultz, LPN have been named Arkansas Business Health Care Heroes, March 28.
Administrator of the Year
Serving for more than 30 years, Montgomery has dedicated his professional career to the efforts and expansion of what was formerly a county hospital to what is now an entire health care system.
Montgomery's profession actually began by a change in direction when a college aptitude test led him from pursuing engineering to health care. He first began in respiratory therapy and it was through this career he was exposed to caring and interacting with patients, working alongside physicians and associates, and learning how to navigate working in a hospital. Before making Arkansas his home, Montgomery was raised in Kansas, and later spent time in Oklahoma and Texas, beginning at White County Medical Center Aug. 8, 1988.
"Health Care is a ministry and an opportunity to serve and care for your fellow man, and God has rewarded me and so many others in the service that we have in caring for people," Montgomery believes. "Scripture tells us that we must work as if we are working for the Lord, and though it takes many highs and lows, both frustrations and celebrations, health care is truly meeting the needs of patients and you have the opportunity to connect with them through life and death situations."
During his tenure, Montgomery has led the hospital through facility improvements, acquisitions of local hospitals including Central Arkansas Hospital of Searcy and Harris Hospital in Newport, along with a number of clinics. He has also been instrumental in the building of the Cancer Center of Excellence, creating the Unity Health Graduate Medical Education program, and leading the organization to become the first hospital in the state of Arkansas to be accepted into the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Under his leadership, Unity Health has received a number of accolades and awards.
"Our organizational structure is inverted, the people who are most important are those giving the care, and if there is a hero among us, it is because each and every one of those individuals have made a difference in a collective teamwork approach, Montgomery says. "These are the true heroes of our organization."
His colleagues and peers of both the Arkansas Hospital Association and American Hospital Association have recognized Montgomery. He is a past recipient of the A. Allen Weintraub Memorial Award, the highest honor for a hospital executive on the state level, as well as the AHA's Society for Health care Strategy and Market Development Circle of Distinction on a national level.
Montgomery served on the Board of the American Hospital Association, Chairman of the Regional Policy Board 7 from 2010-2012. In 2012, he was named to the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care Board of Directors and has also served on the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement Board. He has been a member of the Searcy Lions Club for more than three decades. As his career will come to a close with his retirement scheduled for late 2018, Montgomery hopes to leave the following legacy for his career in health care administration, "What I hope it will be is that I was a servant, I was faithful to this community, I could be trusted and I was humble."
Nurse of the Year
Fultz began his health care career when he joined the US Army upon completion of high school in 1977. He graduated in the top of his class during his nurse training, became a clinical specialist, and received a formal letter requesting his presence at West Point, unknown of the possibilities it held at the time, he simply disregarded it and returned to his home state after serving in Texas and Hawaii.
"When I went into the military as a nurse, I wanted to be in a position to help people and make a difference," Fultz said. To his surprise, he later turned from "a little obscure nobody to hold a place of prominence."
He began to pursue the desire of mission work and ministry, but after meeting his wife, Carole, he has found the truth that, "you are on a mission wherever the Lord puts you."
On his birthday, Jan. 4, 1981, Fultz was hired at White County Medical Center and began his first day as a Licensed Practical Nurse the following Monday, Jan. 7, 1981. He later found his haven for helping heal others in the Emergency Department at Unity Health-White County Medical Center.
In 2008, Fultz was given the Nursing Compassion Award and named "Arkansas's Most Caring Caregiver," by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing, and his selection was based upon the greatest amount of nominations ever to be received for the award from across the state. His own hometown was so appreciative of Fultz, upon receiving the news of his award, he was given a key to his home city of, Augusta, and Sept. 16 was declared 'Jasper Fultz Day.' Fultz has also been vital in Unity Health reaching Level III Trauma status in the state of Arkansas, and he serves as the Facilitator at Unity Health for the AR SAVES Stroke Program and in 2012, was named the AR SAVES Nurse Facilitator of the Year.
"Nursing is all about not taking credit for what you've done, if someone has an issue or emergency, it is our responsibility to care for them and be able to make a difference," Fultz believes.
At Unity Health, Fultz received a Distinguished Service Award, and upon accepting his plaque, he simply sang to his fellow associates the lyrics of "…You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains, You raise me up to walk on stormy seas, I am strong when I am on your shoulders, You raise me up to more than I can be."
President and CEO of Unity Health names Fultz, "a true gentleman, he is so caring and compassionate, in a world where the Emergency Room thrives on action, Jasper focuses on empathy, the personalities of his patients and the emotions among his environment and settings. He is a renaissance man, so skilled and gifted in a number of things. He got a lot more gifts than the rest of us."
He has served on a number of boards including the American Red Cross Board as Disaster Relief Chair, United Way Board, and the Founding Board of Jacob's Place Homeless Shelter. He is also the President of FTP Printing Professionals Inc., where his wife, Carole, operates and oversees their local printing business, Carole's Copy and Print, established in Searcy in 2008. Fultz and his wife are the parents of two sons and three grandchildren and she often hears "Jasper stories," throughout the community of those he has helped through the hospital or in everyday occurrences. His faith in "The Good Lord," as he affectionately refers to God is his driving motivation to serve others and provide compassionate care.