Politicians, friends and staff were all on hand Saturday for a celebration of and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Kimberly A. Lightford Emergency Department at Loretto Hospital. Lightford, the state senator who represents the district where the hospital is located, was instrumental in securing the majority of the funding required to construct the new emergency department.

The new department features 14 private patient exam rooms and high-tech medical equipment. The new facility will allow physicians at Loretto to provide patients from surrounding communities with the highest quality of medical treatment and care.

Monique Caradine, president of Momentum Media Group and host of the TV show “Perspective,” introduced the mistress of ceremony, news anchor/reporter of CLTV Tonya Francisco.

“Today is such a special day, because as of today the Austin community and all the surrounding communities now have a healthcare facility that can rival just about any one in Des Plaines, Naperville, Arlington Heights, anywhere you go,” Francisco said.

Lightford was escorted to the stage with a flourish by Proviso East High School band under the direction of Reginald Wright. Ed Hogan, chairman of Loretto Hospital’s board of trustees stated that “10 years ago, this was nothing but a dream. I remember an advisor from New York who said that this would never happen. A lot of people worked very hard and long hours to make this dream a reality. But no one worked harder than Lightford. “So Kim, I’m so glad that our dream came true, and it’s great to see your name on it.”

Cook County Commissioner Earlean Collins also expressed thanks to Lightford for the work she did in securing funding for the new emergency department. She also emphasized the need for an institution like Loretto Hospital on the West Side.

“We have a lot to be grateful for on the West Side of Chicago, and certainly the people who have worked over the years and have watched this hospital grow,” Collins said. “What Loretto did is really a text book case of what happens when entities in the community reach out to the community and bring people in and form coalitions to work together for a common goal.

“The leadership of this community was concerned about having accessible affordable health care in this area and did not wish to see this hospital close. This emergency room named after Kimberly is a just a great day. I am so proud of her and the hard work she does in Springfield.”

After the ribbon cutting refreshments were served and tours of the facility were conducted by Liz Cadez, director of the emergency department.