LORAIN — Jon Veard considers himself an ordinary man — not one to belong to society clubs, own a boat or a plane, or believe his name should adorn a building.
Yet, the Veard family name is permanently etched into Mercy Regional Medical Center as the Lorain hospital unveiled Thursday
the newly renovated Veard Family Birthing Center.
The center, which includes 18 newly renovated birthing suites, updated to create a home-like atmosphere for patients and their families, is the result of a significant donation from Veard, the hospital and the hospital’s foundation, said Scott N. Pember, president of the Mercy Foundation of Lorain County. It is a nearly $1 million project.
“I said yes because it made sense,” he said following a tour of the facility on the hospital’s third floor. “The community benefits from this hospital, and I love this community. They have been good to me.”
Pember said the donation and renovation started with the idea to provide better seating and sleeping areas for families staying at Mercy to support mothers through birth.
“That’s when I asked what more can we do and how,” he said.
Veard did not disclose the amount of the gift to the hospital he will make over structured payments.
Nevertheless, he said the finished product was better than he imagined, “a first-class facility.”
“My son thought it would be an automatic no, but I said we can do it,” he said.
The updated facility has large rooms where labor, delivery and postpartum recovery happen in the same room. There is an obstetrician in the hospital 24 hours a day, a neonatologist on staff, neonatal intensive care unit for babies and classes to prepare mothers for childbirth and post-birth care.
Gone are the pink, mauves and blue color palettes of the 1980s and dated furniture.
“Everything is new, from the artwork to the countertops,” Pember said. “It is a different experience.”
And a good one, said new mom Lacie Bray-Akers, 25, of Amherst, who delivered a baby girl Tuesday, a 4-pound, 8-ounce baby named Karlie Husted.
“You are made to feel very comfortable, and they are very accommodating,” she said.
Pember said the birthing center is the first outside naming opportunity for the hospital. He hopes it is not the last.
“For the community, this let’s people know there are people willing to invest in us,” he said.