Pat Benson, left, speaks with Dr. Charles Bollman at his retirement party in 2017.

Dr. Charles Bollman served Geary Community Hospital and its patients for about 43 years as a surgeon. He retired two years ago. Late this July, he died suddenly and unexpectedly.

Tuesday afternoon, the hospital Bollman served so diligently for so long chose to honor his years of work by naming the surgery center after him.

A number of people showed up to a meeting of the GCH Board of Trustees Tuesday when this renaming was finalized. One of them was Yolanda Bowyer, whose husband worked as an anesthesiologist under Bollman for about 35 years. She knew Bollman and has fond memories of him, because he and her husband weren’t only co-workers but friends, she said.

“There were several years when he was the only surgeon,” she said. “He kept this hospital going. At that time, this hospital and the employees here and the providers of service were kind of like a giant family — extended family. We all knew each other, recognized each other and he was the heart and soul of this place. He kept us all going.”

According to Bowyer, Bollman worked as long and hard as he did because he cared deeply for the people he served.

“He was very good about caring about his community,” she said. “Not just Junction City and Geary County, but the surrounding area.”

According to Bowyer, Bollman often took care of patients not just from nearby communities but from out of state. They would travel to GCH just to be cared for by him, she said.

“He had an outstanding reputation,” Bowyer said.

County Commissioner Keith Ascher attended the meeting as part of his duties with the county, but said he was pleased to see the surgical center named for Bollman.

“It should have been done a long time ago,” he said.

Asher was among his patients. He said he had about three procedures performed by Bollman during the course of the surgeon’s career.

“He has a legacy here,” Ascher said. “He was the hospital, actually, in my opinion. So it was well-deserved.”

The re-naming, according to Ascher, had already been in the works prior to Bollman’s death.

“Couldn’t have asked for a better person, or a better surgeon,” he said.

In other GCH-related news, the AlphaCare clinic is expected to change its hours some time in the future. No official announcement has been made yet as to what these new hours are expected to be and an official announcement won’t take place until later in the year. The rural health clinic’s current hours are 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 1 until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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