Sir William Gladstone said, “Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.”
For the first time in Cherokee County history, since the office was founded in 1937 by Mr. Riley Perry, the Cherokee County Coroner’s Office now has a fully functional, state of the art morgue. This new, $50,000 morgue allows us to have a clean, dry, safe environment to perform external post mortem examinations as well as gives us the ability to perform internal examinations when appropriate with a pathologist.
During a brief gathering held at the facility located in the rear of Cherokee Medical Center, Cherokee County Coroner Dr. Jeremy Deaton thanked Iseveral key people who have made this possible.
- Terry Long, the Board of Directors of Cherokee Medical Center, we have a phenomenal facility to work under and you all have graciously extended a roof over our heads to work and staff to assist us in monitoring the function of the morgue and proper sanitation and disposal of biohazardous materials.
- Cherokee County Health Care Authority provided $35,000 dollars in a one time grant to help provide the equipment for the facility as well as renovation costs. We are grateful to have state of the art equipment to perform our jobs with and this will greatly improve our ability to become federally accredited in the coming year.
- Cherokee County Probate Judge Tim Burgess- this idea started when, then County Administrator Tim Burgess and I sat down to figure out how we could better serve the citizens of this county and treat our dead with more respect during our investigation process. Tim is the individual who suggested the concept of the county and the hospital working together to create this facility and helped launch the idea off the ground.
- Cherokee County Commissioner Kimball Parker helped initiate conversations between the Hospital and the county and spearheaded this entire project on the county’s side. Kimball worked tirelessly to speak with all the parties involved and helped to successfully negotiate a working agreement between all parties. Commissioner Parker was fundamental in making this happen.
- Cherokee County Commissioners, Foster, Teague and Jones for their votes of support and consideration of this project.
- Josh Garmany and his team with Cherokee Medical Center for making this truly a state of the art facility. They designed the room layout and oversaw all construction of the project.
- Chief Deputy Coroner Paul McDonald for all of his wisdom and efforts to ensure this is the best office and facility available.
- To the entire Cherokee Medical Center Emergency Room Department I would like to say a formal THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all the countless times you have helped me break the news to a family, helped restore the body to be able to be viewed, and simply just been a colleague and team player, your efforts to help the citizens of this county are commendable and you all are an amazing group of individuals we are blessed to have.
It is important to note the need for this morgue. As of Friday the morgue was finished, however the ribbon cutting had not occurred. Within four hours Friday evening, the Coroner’s Office had already responded to three calls and the morgue was up and operation for those three individuals, one of which does not have any immediate family and is still in the morgue until the county can deem her an indigent and handle her disposition.
This shows how urgent this need was and Deaton said he appreciates everyone’s hard work in this process.