For 40 years, John W. “Jack” Heiney has worked tirelessly for Community Health Network as an unpaid, volunteer board member. He’s still at it at age 97, and his years of tireless dedication to Community have drawn praise from both inside and outside the organization. On March 4, he was honored by the Indianapolis Business Journal as its Health Care Hero in the volunteer category.
His service began in 1970 when he joined the board of what is now Community Health Network. At age 70, he retired to become board chairman for what is now Community Health Network Foundation, where he continues to serve. In addition, he was an original board member for VEI. All unpaid service—and in four decades a virtually spotless attendance record at board meetings.
“I thought I could make a contribution to my fellow man,” he says. “Rather than delivering Meals on Wheels or something like that, I decided this was more up my alley.”
Heiney began his lifelong career of service during World War II, commanding an infantry battalion and helping operate POW camps. He followed a business path and in 1960 became president and CEO of Indiana Gas Co. Heiney brought his business savvy, a “can-do” attitude and an aptitude for mentoring to Community’s boards. “I’ve been a businessman all my life,” he says. “I bring the business community’s attitude, and I think health care needs some of that.”
He came to Community at the invitation of C. Harvey Bradley, who was on the Indiana Gas board of directors and also served on Community’s board. Heiney became chairman of Community’s board two years later, and when he retired from Indiana Gas several years after that, he devoted even more of his time and attention to Community.
One of Heiney’s most significant contributions was championing the purchase of 100 acres near Castleton for the future site of Community Hospital North. Considered a risky venture then, the idea faced skepticism. Today Heiney’s forward-thinking leadership is recognized by Community as a major factor in helping the organization grow while remaining financially healthy. If not for Jack Heiney and his vision, Community North might not exist.
While on VEI’s board, Heiney led top management down the road of expansion and help shape the company into the successful business it is today. VEI operates about a dozen surgery and endoscopy centers in Indiana and Michigan along with surgical services at Community’s hospitals and a range of other successful ventures.
He’s 97 now, but Heiney continues to make an impact in a big way. In 2009 he donated $1 million to Community Health Network Foundation—the largest financial donation in the organization’s history. The donation provides funding where it is most needed to improve the health of the central Indiana communities that the network serves.
In honor of Heiney’s immeasurable contributions and as a fitting tribute to his role in the creation of Community North, Community has placed the Heiney name in a prominent place—naming the campus’ primary patient building the “John W. “Jack” and Betty Heiney Patient Care Tower.” Heiney’s name also graces the VEI boardroom at 7330 Shadeland Station. All of these honors are fitting tributes to a man who has spent 40 years volunteering time and talents to help improve health care for local residents. Jack Heiney is an inspiring embodiment of Community’s mission—“Deeply committed to the communities we serve, we enhance health and well-being.”
Among other honorees in the 2011 Health Care Heroes program, one of the finalists in the category of Community Achievement in Health Care was the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety. Community Health Network played a key role in the creation of this organization, and Community’s retired chief medical officer Glenn Bingle, M.D., Ph.D., serves as its board chairman.
To read the Indianapolis Business Journal coverage of Jack Heiney’s Health Care Hero honor,