Published on November 15, 2021

St. Paul Lutheran Church Alpena Donates to the Patient Tower Project

Pastor John Shipman from St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Alpena presents a donation to Ann Diamond, fund development director, MidMichigan Health Foundation.

Outside the construction site of the new patient tower at MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena, Pastor John Shipman from St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Alpena presents a donation to Ann Diamond, fund development director, MidMichigan Health Foundation.

Pastor John Shipman of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Alpena recently presented Ann Diamond, fund development director, MidMichigan Health Foundation, a $2,500 check to be used toward MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena’s new patient tower project. The money was a disbursement from their trust fund which is used specifically for community outreach. 

“This hospital is making a difference in our community,” said Pastor John Shipman. “We were looking for a project that inspires people to come to Alpena, and this building is certainly inspirational.” In the past, monies from the St. Paul Trust Fund have been used to fund needs in the local schools, the community food bank, the Friendship Room at St. Bernard’s Church, Sunday Suppers at the Episcopal Church, as well as donations to other local non-profit agencies.

“We truly thank Pastor Shipman and the St. Paul congregation for this gift and their support,” said Diamond. “Although we are part of a larger health system, we are still a community hospital and we are thankful that the members of St. Paul Church feel the same way.”

As a combat veteran with 30 years of service, Pastor Shipman is especially passionate about the behavioral health needs of the community. With three in-person services every Saturday and Sunday, along with streaming services to approximately 200 people each weekend, he hopes to reach as many people as possible with his weekly messages.

He explained, “There is a terrible epidemic in our nation. Every day, 18-25 veterans commit suicide, kill themselves. While streaming services are important, they lack the human touch - that experience when people join together in person in celebration of God in the world. Many folks, especially veterans, find it difficult to reach out to others or a church because they may feel no one will understand their situation.”

Pastor Shipman continued, as a past veteran, most recently in Turkey (in support of the effort in Syria) and Afghanistan, it is my desire to help veterans come to a peace with their experience.  If you know of or encounter a veteran who is struggling with issues from their service, give them my contact information.  If they won’t come to me, I will go to them. I will work with them to try and understand the need, issue, concern and it is my hope to help prevent another death by suicide.”

“Pastor Shipman makes a very relevant point. We often have patients waiting for behavioral health beds,” said Diamond. “This donation will help with our current project and we are addressing our behavioral health needs and solutions. We are very fortunate to have Pastor Shipman and his expertise assisting our community members with their mental health challenges.”

The three-story, 99,000 square-foot patient tower will feature 60 new private patient rooms, including 14 intensive and critical care rooms, eight labor and delivery rooms with a private C-section suite, and 44 medical/surgical rooms. The new tower will also be home to a new surgical unit which includes five new operating rooms, as well as 19 private prep and recovery rooms. Construction remains on track and is scheduled for completion in spring 2022.

Those interested in more information on the patient tower project or would like to support MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena, may contact Diamond at (989) 356-7738 or ann.diamond@midmichigan.org or may visit https://www.midmichigan.org/about/donations/campaigns/alpena-patient-tower/.

Those who know a veteran who is struggling are encouraged to reach out to Pastor Shipman at (989) 884-2084 or pastor@stpaul.org.