On Dec. 2, employees and friends of Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center gathered for a 40th birthday celebration in the hospital’s main lobby. President Dan Cochran led festivities to mark the date in 1979 when Shady Grove began serving the community around its Rockville, Maryland, campus.

“What makes Shady Grove the most special is the people. I think the people are really driven by the Mission that we have as an organization,” Cochran said during the celebration, which included displays of photos and memorabilia.

The hospital recognized three employees who have been part of its team since opening day: respiratory therapist Larry Zimmer, unit support coordinator Carleen Anderson, and registered nurse Lorraine Sparrow.

Sparrow recalled being able to walk outside of the emergency room and see dirt roads and cornfields in those first days. “It was just so quiet and peaceful,” she said.

Montgomery County’s population and the residential development around the hospital has boomed since that time, along with the number of patients Shady Grove served. The hospital treated just over 14,000 emergency room cases in its first year. Last year, it saw more than 90,000.

To meet that growth, Shady Grove has expanded from its original four-story brick building over the years. In 2009, the hospital added a tower with private rooms and more operating rooms. In 2013, it opened the Shady Grove Adventist Aquilino Cancer Center to offer whole-person cancer care in a dedicated building next to the hospital. A few miles north, Shady Grove’s Germantown Emergency Center opened in 2006 and is one of only three freestanding emergency rooms in Maryland. The hospital has garnered national recognition for many of its high-quality services over the years.

Cochran, who joined Shady Grove in 2011 and became president in August, is enthusiastic about the future. He plans to continue the growth and modernization of the hospital with a new intensive care unit, upgrades for the Emergency Department and private patient rooms. These new facilities would complement the hospital’s recently expanded services, such as advanced neurosurgery and inpatient and outpatient mental health.

Cochran is enthusiastic about the next 40 years and beyond for Shady Grove.

“I am excited not only about adding facilities and services, but also developing new opportunities for our employees,” he said. “Engaging people fully in our Mission of extending God’s care is key.”