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Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast

Summer of the Shark

Summer Camp

Contact Information

Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast

Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast
Photo Courtesty of Sacred Heart Health System


In the summer of 1994, the Destin Hospital closed its doors. Because of this, citizens of the Fort Walton Beach-Destin area were forced to drive hours to the nearest hospital. Concerned, the community leaders saw the need for a community-based hospital. This is when the idea of Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast came about.

Site clearing began in late July 2001 and construction of the hospital began at the end of August. Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast opened its doors for patient care on January 27, 2003. The 50-bed hospital is designed to serve Walton County, Okaloosa County and other areas of Northwest Florida. The hospital is located east of Destin in Santa Rosa Beach, on the north side of Highway 98 by the intersection with Mack Bayou Road.

Importance of the Event

Due to the failing stock market and a declining economy, hospitals and health care centers around the country were forced to close their doors. Because of the harsh situation in the health care market, it was extremely rare to open a new hospital. The event was given such high importance that the governer of Florida, Jeb Bush, attended to witness the groundbreaking.

My Involvement

For my first assignment as an intern, I was asked to accompany the marketing staff down to Destin to help facilitate the official ground-breaking ceremony for the new hospital. I was in charge of checking guests in, serving as a host to the guests and ensuring that the media was taken care of and kept fully informed.

While there, I had the opportunity to witness how to plan and enact a special event, as well as the proper way to deal with honored guests and the media. As a highlight to the event, I was even able to meet Gov. Jeb Bush, who was the keynote speaker for the event.

Additional Information:

SHEC Timeline and History
Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast Web Site
Sacred Heart Health System Web Site

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Cathryn A. Outzen
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