Charles Broom Was the First Baby Born at Floyd
Atrium Health Floyd celebrates its 80th anniversary as a hospital and its first anniversary as a member of the Atrium Health family this July.
Floyd first opened its doors on July 4, 1942. There's something special about “firsts." There can be only one first – ever. The first newspaper coverage, the first hospital administrator, the first patient, the first nurses who worked at Floyd and the first baby to be born at the hospital all are an important part of our story.
“They came by the hundreds, they saw and were pleased," the Rome News-Tribune reported. “Veteran Rome civic leaders and construction men alike praised the modern hospital structure as one of the finest projects of its type in the Southeast."
Dr. W.H. Lewis, the visionary who ran for office on a platform to build a county hospital in Floyd County, was the first administrator. The first patient was Mrs. Anna King. She was admitted on July 10, 1942.
Iris Lee, one of the first nine nurses to work at Floyd, was interviewed on the hospital's 50th anniversary. She remembered that there was only one patient during the first week of operations – Mrs. King, no doubt. However, it didn't take long, she said, until the patients outnumbered the beds.
The newspaper also reported on the new hospital's first baby: On July 15, 1942, Mrs. R.L. Broom gave birth at 6:15 a.m. to a healthy baby boy, Charles Walter.
Today, 80-year-old Charles Broom lives with his wife, Virginia, in Plainville in Gordon County. He says he's famous – at least a little bit – remembering he was in the newspaper back when he was born. “I was in all the papers," he said. He received more publicity in 1988 when Floyd Medical Center celebrated the birth of its 75,000th baby. Other than that, though, Mr. Broom says he's lived a pretty quiet life.
A man of few words, Mr. Broom grew up in Vann's Valley, between Cave Spring and Lindale, attending both Pepperell and Cave Spring schools. He returned to Floyd Medical Center at least three times over the years. He had his tonsils and adenoids removed at Floyd as a teenager, and both of his children, Charles and Tena, were born here.
He moved to Gordon County nearly 40 years ago, after taking a job at Beaulieu of America, working “70 and 80 hours a week to make a living." He retired from mill work back in 2003. Now a grandfather to “a barn-full of grandchildren," he spends a good bit of his time sitting on his front porch looking out over the three acres he still mows himself or catching a show every now and then on television.
In celebration of his 80th birthday, Atrium Health Floyd teammates visited Mr. Broom at his home, bringing a bag filled with gifts and a birthday cake. He graciously received the gifts and didn't seem too surprised to learn that more than 150,000 babies have been born at Floyd since his birth.
That's 150,000 first breaths, first yawns and first smiles, and while it might be hard to imagine now, 80-year-old Charles Broom was the very first newborn to draw a breath, to yawn and to smile at Floyd.