What a year.

There are hundreds of words to describe an unimaginable year in all of our lives.

I will just try to focus on two for this short reflection.

Gratitude — The emotions are real when I try and express this to Team Beebe, this community, and my family.

This healthcare system is a family and our patients are our family, and they welcomed me in that vein. But it wasn’t just their kindness, it is their continued dedication to Sussex County and our patients that continues to impress me every day.

There have been some amazing accomplishments by this team for COVID-19 patient care, testing and vaccination. This continues, but so did all the other critical healthcare services that Team Beebe provides throughout the pandemic. We opened new locations, such as the South Coastal Health Campus, and introduced new providers and expert surgeons, such as breast surgeon Diana Dickson-Witmer, MD, FACS, and general and bariatric surgeon Tarek Waked, MD, FACS.

The future is bright on the horizon.

Much like Team Beebe, this community has welcomed our family in such amazing ways. I even received a scrapple T-shirt from the few times I mentioned trying it on one of our virtual town halls.

There are countless similar examples, but I think back to April when the emergency responders held the parade down Savannah Road. The sights, sounds and waves from that day will live in my memory forever.

As promised, a second word: Change.

Life as we know it has changed. My life changed when my U-Haul rolled down Savannah Road for the first time on March 16, 2020. Healthcare has changed. Beebe will continue to change for the needs of our community. We are working together to make sure that we provide advanced high-quality, innovative healthcare to the people of Sussex County.

We here at Beebe Healthcare have been embracing change for the last 105 years. We are committed to this community will be for the next 100 years, too.

That’s our promise of “Creating the Next Generation of Care.”

It’s amazing to think about the fact that, with increased vaccine supply, we are at a point where that we may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s so exciting, because there are so many things that we’ll be able to do together again as a community.

I came to Beebe Healthcare because I wanted to see the impact of local, community healthcare could have on its residents, visitors and workers. I get to see that every day, and through all the personal and professional challenges of these past 365 days.

Just know, you’ve made your impact on me, too. And for that, thank you.

Dr. David A. Tam, MD, MBA, FACHE, assumed the role of Beebe Healthcare President & CEO on March 17, 2020. He has experience as an officer in the U.S. Navy and in large public health systems. He completed his pediatrics residency at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif., and a pediatric neurology fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia.