Congratulations to Yolonda Simmons, winner of our Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital street naming contest. For more than two months, hundreds of people voted on a name for the new street leading to the hospital, and Simmons’ entry, “Healthy Way, ” beat out 57 other contenders.
In gearing up for the opening of the brand new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas invited county residents to come up with a name that would capture the spirit of the new medical center and encompass the goals of the surrounding community.
Simmons found out about the contest after reading Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ monthly newsletter.
“I’ve never entered any contest before but I wanted to have a voice,” Simmons said. “I really wanted to stress health. The hospital had a rocky road when it closed, and I wanted to reignite the excitement about the new hospital and that it is a healthy way now. I wanted to motivate and encourage those driving, walking and entering the hospital to strive for a healthier future.”
Nearly 800 residents took part in the online voting process , and Simmon’s is quick to note that her victory was not accomplished alone.
“My husband is my secret weapon,” said Simmons, who runs Free N One, a substance abuse program with her husband Ronald Simmons. “He was a social media manager for me and really got the word out in the community. We told everyone at a gathering to vote. If you were with us at a dinner we would not let you go unless you voted.”
When she told her husband that she had entered the contest, he began a social media campaign using Twitter and Facebook to support his wife’s entry.
“It’s important to me that the hospital has a positive image and a bright future because our community needs it, wants it and deserves it,” she said. “It is important that the community supports the positive image the hospital will bring.”
Chairman Ridley-Thomas noted that Simmon’s entry, Healthy Way, is much more than a street name.
“I congratulate Yolonda Simmons, who chose this name, to motivate and encourage those driving, walking and/or entering the area of the hospital to strive for a healthier future,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “The new hospital will be at the heart of an wellness complex that, when completed, will bring a level of healthcare excellence to the region.”