The words read out when she was presented with a BC Community Achievement Award in Victoria on April 29 say it well:
“The health of a community depends on many key elements, but primary is a stable physician base. Marilin States’ knowledge and expertise have made her the very successful physician recruiter for the Creston Valley.
“As the Town of Creston mayor says, ‘Marilin has surpassed expectations in her creativity, adaptability and efficiency with limited resources to attract doctors to the area.’ Her success has been achieved through the relationships she has built locally and provincially. Marilin gives generously of her personal time to assist with the ongoing assimilation of new physicians and their families into the community. She is a great ambassador for the Creston Valley and her efforts have resulted in providing her community with stable medical care.”
For her part, States said that she is still reeling over the honour.
“To be in the midst of these people who have done so much for their communities was remarkable,” she said. “Each one is so inspiring. It’s wonderful what people do for their communities. It really does take a village — it takes the support of so many to accomplish what we do.”
States was among 32 recipients named in 2014.
Gray Creek businessman and historian Tom Lymbery also took the stage to accept a CAA certificate and medal. Along with Lower Kootenay Band Chief Jason Louie, he was awarded last year, but unable to attend the 2013 ceremony.
“Gray Creek is a remote settlement on the east shore of Kootenay Lake, about an hour and half’s drive from Nelson,” said his introduction at the ceremony. “Owner and operator of the landmark Gray Creek Store for more than 50 years … an enterprise his father established in 1911 and his son continues today, Tom Lymbery is the community’s driving force. He has been involved in everything from business to health to transportation to tourism to sports to emergency services, to name only a few. We applaud his enthusiasm for preserving the community’s history for future generations through his writings and willingness to share his knowledge. In Gray Creek, Tom Lymbery is the keeper of community memory, its story teller, and its inexhaustible promoter.”
When the Creston Valley faced a shortage of family physicians a decade ago, the Town of Creston and Regional District of Central Kootenay directors came together to create a recruitment strategy. States, then a nurse recruiter for HealthMatch BC, was asked if she was interested, but was still working under contract to the provincial agency.
“I said I would help someone get started, help them connect the dots,” said States, whose husband, Dr. Randy Grahn, is Creston hospital’s chief of staff. “Deryn Collier was hired. I gave her some suggestions and ideas and she just ran with it. She was very successful.”
Four years ago Collier resigned to pursue a writing career.
“Randy saw the ad in the paper and said, ‘This is right up your alley,’” States recalled.
“The position provides a community service, which is part of who I am,” said States, who is an active member of the Creston Rotary Club, past director of Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce and often asked to organize community events.
In her work as recruiter, she has formed friendships with physicians and their families, even before they arrive to make a new life in the Creston Valley. She has worked to make them feel comfortable and to connect them with resources in the community. Perhaps more importantly, she has succeeded in helping local physicians embrace the recruitment program.
“Our physicians, and many others, including our elected representatives and town staff, have helped our program succeed,” she said. “They help make Creston a wonderful place to live.”