By Wendy Hood, Staff Correspondent
For the first time in its history, Gadsden Regional Medical Center has welcomed home one of its own to serve as Chief Executive Officer.
Corey Ewing was born in Gadsden in 1976 to Glenn and Lisa Ewing at what was then known as Baptist Hospital.
Ewing said that after nearly 20 years of working away from Etowah County, he never dreamed he would have the opportunity to come back to Gadsden.
“I just never thought it would happen,” he said.
Growing up in the small area of Curtiston in Attalla, Ewing said that he enjoyed the run of the neighborhood on his bike.
“I just stayed outside all day and Mom never had to worry,” he said.
At the young age of three, Ewing said that he began to dream of being a doctor. That dream stuck with him through his time at Etowah High School, but once he began college at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the business side of healthcare began to appeal to him. Ewing remembers a crossroad moment while standing in his college advisor’s office. He stepped out of the office and made a phone call to a mentor, Dr. Tom Corley. After talking through his options, Ewing made up his mind to switch gears from clinical healthcare to healthcare administration. He hasn’t looked back.
Ewing said his mother, Lisa, was a huge influence in his decision to go into healthcare. Lisa worked first as a phlebotomist, then as a medical assistant and eventually as a registered nurse. Ewing shared the story of how at age seven, his mother told him she had an interview for a job at a doctor’s office. Feeling protective of his mom, Ewing insisted that he be allowed to interview this doctor before deciding if it was okay for his mother to work for him.
Ewing now laughs about the situation.
“They should have known then, that if at age seven, I was demanding to interview the doctor, I was headed for hospital administration!”
Ewing credits his dad with demonstrating a strong work ethic.
“My dad has always been a hard worker and lots of times he would take me with him,” he said.
Ewing remembers helping his dad install heating and cooling units as a young man, small enough to walk under a house.
“He worked me like a mule,” Ewing joked.
Ewing admits he did not appreciate the hard labor back then but can see the value of it now. Because of his background, Ewing now enjoys working closely with the hospital maintenance department.
“I love construction and maintenance because it reminds me so much of what I grew up with,” he said.
Ewing met his wife, Yetta (McCutcheon), while she was a senior at Southside High School.
“We dated eight years before we married because we wanted to wait until I finished my master’s degree,” he said.
Ewing said that in seven of those eight years, the couple lived in different cities and sometimes different states. At times they would only see each other once every other month. But persevering through that long distance courtship, they now have been married for 14 years and have two children, Max and Laney. Since being married, the couple has moved seven times to follow Corey’s career path.
“It’s a good thing she likes me, because I’ve moved her all over the place,” Ewing said lightheartedly.
For years, Ewing worked in hospitals in Tennessee, where he assumed he would stay. Just after Ewing’s mother was diagnosed with brain cancer a few years ago, however, Ewing was presented with an opportunity to return to Alabama when he received a job offer as CEO of a hospital in Fort Payne.
“Mom was ecstatic,” he said. “I was able to come back to Alabama and spend more time with her in the last few years of her life. I think things happen for a reason.”
Now the CEO of the hospital he was born in, Ewing said that he feels like he has come full circle.
“I love being back here,” he said.
As CEO of Gadsden Regional, Ewing’s duties cover each department of the hospital. It is in the departments that he really enjoys spending time with hospital employees and getting to know them. According to Ewing, each staff member is very important to the success of this hospital.
“I want them to realize that they are one of the most important things in the building; without them, nothing else would work,” he said.
When asked about the rewards of his job, Ewing produced a letter once written to him by a nurse thanking him for all the positive changes he had brought to her job and community. Ewing said that the letter serves as an inspiration to keep working hard for the patients, staff and community.
As Ewing looks to the future, he expresses hope that he will be at Gadsden Regional for many years to come.