October 30, 2017

Longtime supporters help keep Regina Health Center’s mission flourishing

Regina Health Center provides compassionate and holistic health care services primarily for members of religious communities, clergy and for other persons needing supportive services or residential nursing care—and its supporters are critical to fulfilling that mission. John Heydel is one of those supporters. He has had a relationship with the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine since 1990, and he and his wife have supported Regina Health Center for many years.

Their story is included in the most recent issue of The Heart of Regina Health Center newsletter. The full text of the article appears below. Read the complete newsletter for additional news, upcoming events, stories of how Regina Health Center carries out its mission, and more. Regina Health Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

Supporter Spotlight: A Connection 27 Years in the Making 

John Heydel first became introduced to the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine in 1990 when he met Sister Mary Jacob Yelcho, CSA, at a medical conference in Atlanta. That was the start of a relationship that has blossomed over the years.

At the time, John was a senior assistant administrator at the 625-bed Schumpert Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. Sr. Mary Jacob was the president and CEO of Providence Hospitals in Columbia, South Carolina, which was part of the Sisters of Charity Health System. John was interested in a position as president of a large hospital with a respected cardiac program. After more than 40 years in health care, Sr. Mary Jacob was searching for someone to fill her role while continuing to support the Catholic mission of the hospital.

“She invited me to come to Columbia and we hit if off right away. I was brought in as an executive vice president in 1991 to ensure I would be true to the mission and ministry of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine,” said John.

He was named president and CEO of Providence Hospitals in 1992. He left there in 1998 to become the president and CEO of Self Regional Healthcare until retiring in 2008, but he never lost touch with the sisters. He continued to stay involved with an organization he helped found in 1992—Healthy Learners, which is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Healthy System that is devoted to removing South Carolina children’s health barriers to learning.

As president and CEO of Providence Hospitals, he got to know many sisters both in South Carolina and Cleveland. He and his wife Drenda even spent several days at the Motherhouse at Mt. Augustine, which is also the location of Regina Health Center.

John and Drenda have donated annually to Regina Health Center for many years and are members of the Regina Society for accumulated giving. They also chose to include Regina Health Center in their estate plan, which is a testimony to their connection to the sisters and their belief in the ministry’s mission.

“Regina Health Center does a fantastic job caring for sisters and others. Because of our love for the sisters and the impressive job they do caring for residents and treating everyone with respect and compassion, Drenda and I decided to designate a significant portion of our estate plan to Regina Health Center,” said John.

John began his career as a medic in the U.S. Air Force, serving in the Vietnam War in the 1960s. He returned from Vietnam to study respiratory therapy in college. He went on to become the administrative director of respiratory therapy at Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California, before moving to the Schumpert Medical Center in Louisiana.

John likes to read and play golf, and enjoys giving back as much time as he can by volunteering with a number of nonprofit organizations, including serving on the boards of Healthy Learners, the Rotary Club and the Greenwood Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. John and Drenda live in Greenwood, South Carolina.

“We are grateful for the connection that John and Sr. Mary Jacob made so many years ago and the ongoing commitment that has evolved from it,” said Mark Yantek, RHC executive director.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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