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      Locals donate to tornado-ravaged Oklahoma hospital

      More than $26,000 is on its way to Moore, Oklahoma, to aid relief efforts at its tornado-ravaged medical center. Phoebe Putney Health System employees raised approximately $13,000 through donations to the Moore Medical Center fundraiser this summer. / File

      More than $26,000 is on its way to Moore, Oklahoma, to aid relief efforts at its tornado-ravaged medical center. Phoebe Putney Health System employees raised approximately $13,000 through donations to the Moore Medical Center fundraiser this summer. The other $13,000 was a dollar-for-dollar match from VHA, Inc., a national healthcare alliance for nonprofit hospitals, which pledged to match any hospital's donation for Moore Medical Center.

      Moore Medical was devastated by an F5 tornado on May 20, leaving a community without its primary healthcare provider. It was a scenario all too familiar in Southwest Georgia after a 2007 tornado made a direct hit on the Americus hospital.

      Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, which opened in Americus in 2011, immediately stepped up to help the devastated hospital in Oklahoma by donating some initial funds and sending messages of support. Within days the entire Phoebe family adopted Moore Medical Center as the beneficiary of a summer fundraiser. Every Friday from June 14 through July 26, employees made donations for Moore, and wore blue jeans to work in honor of the hospital and the medical personnel and staff working in the area.

      "Our employees are very active in the communities we serve," said Lauren Ray, director of the Phoebe Foundation. "The Moore, Oklahoma, fundraiser was specifically for a community outside of our service area and was a way to thank the many other communities and healthcare employees who came to our aid during times of natural disasters. As fellow healthcare providers, we know these funds may be that extra boost someone needs to be able to continue giving care to the Moore, Oklahoma, community."

      Stay connected to MySouthWestGA.com as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!

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