Healing Garden Benefits Patients And Visitors


As Herrin Hospital prepares to unveil its new multi million dollar expansion, perhaps one of the most anticipated areas to be viewed is the half-million dollar Julia Harrison Bruce and Fred G. Harrison Memorial Garden. The courtyard, located where the main entrance used to be, was made possible through funding from the Fred G. Harrison Foundation and the Julia Harrison Bruce Foundation.

The courtyard will serve as a place for visitors to relax and the hospital’s physical therapy department will use it as well for patient rehabilitation.

Jim Osborn, director, acute rehabilitation said the design of the garden uses different walking surfaces and changing levels. As patients recovering from stroke or injury walk through the garden with therapists, they are working on regaining balance and coordination. “This will challenge patients,” he said, adding that the serene surroundings will also be a benefit.

Becky Ashton, hospital administrator, said the garden will offer a place of peace and solitude outdoors for patients, visitors and employees. “It is absolutely breathtaking,” she said.

The late Fred Harrison and his sister Julia (Harrison) Bruce were both great grandchildren of one of Herrin’s pioneers, George Henry Harrison. Along with Julia’s husband, the late Carl Bruce, they created the two foundations which have provided funding for numerous projects in and around the community.

On behalf of The Bank of Herrin, trustee for the foundations, trust officer Ed Goodwin spoke said he was very happy to see such a beautiful garden bearing the name of two people he knew and loved dearly.

“Neither Fred nor Julia and Carl ever had children,” said Goodwin. The Julia Harrison Bruce and Fred G. Harrison Foundations were both established in 1969, the first on January 15 and the second on January 17.

Goodwin said facilities, parks and other entities that are built using funds from the foundations are required to use the Harrison or Bruce name. He said this is their way of keeping their legacy alive while helping the community they loved.

The Memorial Garden was dedicated to honor the benefactors in a private ceremony September 7. The garden will open to the public in the fall.