Mary Burton has been named to lead the Southeast Missouri Hospital Foundation.
Burton, who is currently the executive director of the American Red Cross Southeast Missouri Chapter, will succeed J. Charles Stotz, who is retiring after 17 years on the job.
Burton said she looks forward to the new challenges of her job, which will primarily involve fund raising
"There are wonderful things to come for the future of health care in our area," she said. "Aren't we incredibly fortunate to have this quality of health care in our own community, right here in our own backyard? And I only want it to get better."
Bob Neff, chairman of the hospital's committee that searched for a new executive director, said they conducted a national search before coming to a unanimous decision on Burton.
"It takes a strong foundation. We needed someone who could relate to citizens of the community and be a leader," he said. "After meeting with a number of candidates, we realized that Mary could best do both of those things. She's going to take the foundation to the next level."
The goal of the foundation is to fund hospital expansion and improve patient care at the hospital. Over the past 17 years it has raised more than $9 million through fund-raisers like the Southeast Showcase, the annual golf tournament and the Christmas concert.
Burton has held the post at Red Cross for 15 years and said the change should be a smooth transition. "I have a great love for the health-care arena, and I admire and respect Southeast Missouri Hospital," she said. "This is a perfect fit. I feel fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful team."
The pressure is great for a major hospital to stay on the cutting edge, and with technological advances coming faster than ever the money required to provide new services demands equally fast-paced fund raising, said Neff.
"The medical field in general is a challenge," said Neff. "Our goal is not only to take care of our own citizens, our goal is to get people to come here for treatment."
Clint Karnes, chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross, Southeast Missouri chapter said Burton will be hard to replace. "Mary Burton has been the face of the Red Cross in our area," he said. "While we will miss her tireless passion for service, we certainly wish her well in her new role."
Karnes said the Red Cross will begin an immediate search that will look at both internal candidates and people in the Red Cross' nationwide network.
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