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A message from our president and CEO, Joe Sluka

Author: Joe Sluka, 10/21/2019 11:46:00 AM

For me, when the calendar flips over from October to November, it means we’re heading into my favorite season.

I’m not talking about autumn or winter, or even “the holiday season.” I’m talking about a season of gratitude for all of the good things in my life.

I’m thankful for my wife, my kids and my grandkids, and for their good health and happiness. And I’m thankful that I have the privilege of leading an organization that is relentlessly focused on creating America’s healthiest community, together.

I also want to take a moment to say thank you to the men and women in our U.S. Armed Forces – both active members and veterans. Your service to our country is brave and honorable, and the sacrifices you and your families have made to protect and preserve our way of life should never go unnoticed.

At St. Charles, honoring and supporting our service members and veterans isn’t just something we talk about once a year. It’s something we strive toward every day. And while we don’t do it for recognition, I’m very proud of the awards we've received this year for supporting our caregivers who serve in the Guard and Reserve – especially the “Above and Beyond Award” presented to the health system as a whole.

St. Charles has a long history of caring for the service members in our community. During World War II, the U.S. Army built a 25-bed annex at our hospital in downtown Bend, where the nuns who founded St. Charles cared for sick and injured soldiers from nearby Camp Abbot. And we’re pleased that Congress has shown its commitment to improving the health of veterans by enacting legislation to make it easier for them to seek health care outside the VA system.

Prague Hall, a 25-bed wooden annex the Army built next to St. Charles Hospital when it was located in downtown Bend. Circa 1942. Learn more at

Camp Abbot, a training facility for engineers, was built by the Army in 1942 on the site of present-day Sunriver Resort. Learn more at Photo courtesy of Deschutes County Historical Society.

This November, before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season sets in, I hope you’ll join me in thanking those who serve our country in the Armed Forces. And if you’re an active member or a veteran, please know that those of us here at St. Charles are proud to support you.


Joe Sluka
President and CEO
St. Charles Health System