Telluride Medical Center Foundation: Honoring Kate Wadley's Legacy!

Kate Wadley recently retired as Executive Director of the Telluride Medical Center Foundation. We honor her legacy, which keeps on giving.

Go here for more on the Telluride Regional Medical Center.

Kate and David Wadley, courtesy Kate.

Back in 2021, a new CT-Scanner took the Telluride Medical Center’s technology from a 16-slice CT Scan to a 128-slice, offering a profound improvement in the quality of scans, particularly in terms of image reconstructions for head and spine injury and the use of angiography to determine vascular issues. The machine also adapts to provide 3D images for patients with orthopedic needs and proves critical in detecting internal injuries and bleeding caused by trauma.

That life-saver was made possible by a capital campaign kickstarted in 2020 by an anonymous donation of just over $100,000, then further buoyed by a $50,000 pledge from Telluride Women Give, a philanthropic group dedicated to the community’s health care needs. (The remaining $330,000 was contributed to the Telluride Medical Center Foundation by many individual donors.)

Kate Wadley, former Executive Director of the Telluride Medical Center Foundation, is the founder of Telluride Women Give.

“The efforts of Telluride Women Give drove innovative, often life-saving services and technology to make a difference for those we know and love,” said Kate in an interview back then.

Play for P.I.N.K (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology and Knowledge) uses lifestyle and sporting events to raise funds. All proceeds from the golf tournament directly benefit breast cancer research and the Telluride Medical Center Foundation’s preventive health fund.

“Each year the golf tournament sells out faster, we add more sponsors, more volunteers give their time and we raise more money,” said Kate, who annually spearheaded the highly successful fundraising initiative. “This profound support makes it possible for the medical center to expand free and discounted services and provide everyone in our community access to exceptional healthcare.

When Covid-19 hit the Telluride region, to meet the demands on the team at the Telluride Medical Center, Kate was instrumental in establishing the COVID-19 Telluride Medical Center Fund. Donations to that fund went directly to support extra staff hours, additional staff, supplies (like personal protection equipment), communications, bilingual translation efforts and more.

It also fed staff.

“By sponsoring healthy food Telluride allowed our doctors, nurses and support staff to stay focused on the challenges before them. Finding nourishing sustenance in the staff room each day meant a great deal to our team as they took on new responsibilities and roles, worked longer hours and navigated an usual amount of stress as the situation rapidly changed.”

Kate again.

The better angels of our nature sometimes need a nudge to emerge. Not Kate’s. They were and are out there and willing to work overtime.

Kate’s legacy is large and luminous and all over the Telluride Medical Center in terms of the equipment (like the aforementioned CT scanner) and services she initiated and/or guided during her tenure as ED of the Telluride Med Center Foundation, an entity she created to secure the financial resources required to ensure clinical excellence and continued quality of care at the Telluride Medical Center.

Kate is not one to toot her own horn. She would never be caught vamping for the gratitude she so richly deserves from the Telluride community. However, friends and professional colleagues lined up to do the job, to sing Kate’s praises.

Diana E. Koelliker, M.D., interim CEO and Director Trauma and Emergency Services at the Telluride Regional Medical Center:

I have known Kate for almost 20 years. We met socially first, then professionally when Kate was on the Telluride Hospital District board of directors, and then after she left that board to form the TMC Foundation. I have long admired her constant stream of positivity and dedication to cause. When faced with a challenge or obstacle to overcome, Kate’s answer always was:‘“Of course we can do that.”

Can-do has always been Kate’s go-to, but during COVID it became her mantra.

Kate’s positive attitude and unwavering support for the medical center has left an indelible mark on my professional life. Personally, she has always been the one I could count on to bring delicious, boiled peanuts and/or pimento cheese to my football parties on Saturdays in the fall. She is southern to the core…..and that is a good thing.

Kate single-handedly raised millions of dollars solely for the benefit of the medical center. Every day I work in the Emergency Department, I use lots of equipment, technology and medications. Kate is the reason it is all there. She has truly touched thousands of patients over the past 15 years with her philanthropic prowess. She is a class act whose legacy will live on in the lives of our patients and in the successes of our staff.

Kristin Holbrook, Co-owner, Two Skirts Telluride, philanthropist, and close friend:

In a few words Kate Wadley is like a Southern biscuit: warm, always a treat, and a pillar of hospitality!

I met Kate as soon as she moved to Telluride, when she “turned in a BMW for a Subaru” – even though she had told her fiancée David she would not – and her sales job for a spot at Two Skirts. We were colleagues at first, then we became close friends. Kate was known for bringing her yellow lab “Pearl” to the store, for wearing orange, and for saying: “If you don’t buy that I will!”

People still talk about Pearl.

I admire Kate’s ability to make everyone feel like her sister, not just because she calls everyone “sister,” but because she really loves everyone in her circle like family. I admire her resiliency to charge through the hard things in life and keep a smile on her face. I admire her ability to fundraise for a good, yet controversial cause, take the heat and get the donations.

Kate is smart, funny, up for anything and always there with pimento cheese when you need it.

Kate’s impact on Telluride is huge. She has been involved in so many community entities and in so many people’s lives in positive ways. Most notably, Kate has been working to build our town a new, much-needed, state-of-the-art Medical Center to improve the lives of everyone living in Telluride and those passing through as guests.

John Donovan, Senior Consultant, Accordant:

I have had the good fortune to work with Kate in preparing the Telluride Medical Center Foundation to support the funding needs for the new facility at Society Turn. Her passion and commitment to this goal has always been evident in everything she did. Kate’s leadership has brought funding that allowed for the remodeling of the Emergency Department and the purchase of a wide variety of capital equipment that otherwise would not be available in a community the size of Telluride.

Kate has been a strong vocal advocate for quality health care in the Telluride region and has done so by building bonds with almost all in the community. She established the foundation to grow and continue the Telluride Med Center’s mission to support the health care needs of our box canyon and beyond.

Thank you Kate. Your legacy will live on…

Jane Shivers, Close friend and former TRMC board member:

Over 10 years ago, Kate asked me to join the Telluride Medical Foundation board. I had a background in public relations and marketing and she thought I could bring some of those skills to the table.

All these years I have watched Kate work her magic. She has a gift for making people feel valuable, for connecting people in meaningful ways, and she is a highly effective fund-raiser and event-planner.

It is no surprise to me that Kate took on the task of starting the foundation 15 years ago. She was successful in corporate business before moving to Telluride and she takes on new endeavors with enthusiasm and a get-it-done attitude. Kate has raised millions of dollars for the Telluride Medical Foundation, almost single-handily, and those funds have enabled the purchase of much needed, life-saving equipment.

It is impossible to say “No” to Kate. She is persuasive in a non-pushy way and has the best smile and best laugh of anyone I know. You can’t help but pull out the checkbook.

Kate also is good at food diplomacy. She is able to win over recalcitrant people with one of her wonderful key lime pies. She organized a town effort to provide food for the over-worked Medical Center staff during Covid. Kate is a giver, not a taker.

Both Kate and her husband David have given so much so unselfishly to the greater Telluride community.

Paul Reich, Board Chair, Telluride Hospital District:

I have long been impressed by Kate’s can-do attitude. There was no challenge Kate shied away from when it came to raising funds for the Telluride Medical Center Foundation. She was relentlessly positive. And, while it is no easy task to ask people for money, Kate made it look easy.

And on that note, Kate believed wholeheartedly in the mission of the Telluride Medical Center Foundation and shared that belief widely. As I told her at a recent event, we are able to build on the work she did for the Foundation since its inception. Kate  has left a huge reservoir of good will for the Telluride Regional Medical Center.

Clifford Hansen, Chair, Telluride Medical Center Foundation:

I’ve had the good fortune of serving on the Hospital District board with Kate over the past eight years and seen how her dedication and leadership have made an incredible impact on our organization and the community we serve. Her fundraising efforts have enabled the Med Center to purchase and fund a substantial amount of the equipment and services used on a day-to-day basis.

On behalf of the Medical Center Foundation, we are so grateful for Kate’s tenure as Executive Director. Her leadership, dedication to mission and unwavering commitment to making a difference in the Telluride community at large have been exemplary and touched the lives of countless individuals.

Kate has created a legacy that will keep us in forward motion as we move through the next couple of years and into the new facility at Society Turn.

Dr. Sharon Grundy, Medical Director, Internal Medicine & Primary Care and close friend:

Thank you David Wadley for enchanting Kate Gary and enticing her to move from the refinements of a city to rugged Telluride, Colorado!

I think of Kate’s early years in our community, far from oak trees and hot humid air, and I wondered if Telluride was the place for this woman. However, with her outgoing personality and ability to talk with almost anyone, she soon became ingrained in our community. Kate has, after all, an amazing ability to forge unique bonds with a wide variety of people, ultimately creating a network of relationships filled with friendship and love.

Kate is one of my closest friends and I will miss having her support throughout the day. Over the past 15 years, she established herself as a powerful executive helping TRMC reach our philanthropic goals. Kate created a safe harbor for the needs of the medical center by using her intuition to identify immediate needs and then asking individuals to fund programs and projects to fill those needs. Her perseverance has been greatly appreciated by our staff. And, our patients and community have benefited greatly from her efforts.

Kate will be missed by “The Med Center,” however, thankfully she remains a very important part of my life. I am looking forward to many adventures yet to come.

Kate Wadley, more:

Kate Wadley is a steel magnolia. Of that there is no doubt. She grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and was educated at Hollins Collage in Roanoke, Virginia. Plans for her young life included a sales job at a Fortune 500 company, a role she played very successfully for Johnson & Johnson.

The move to Telluride happened in 2004, when she married David Wadley at the Homestead in Warm Springs Virginia, and decamped to our box canyon where her groom was already living.

Once in town, Kate took on a series of jobs, as so many who came before her have done. She worked at Two Skirts (2005-2006) and volunteered for the Telluride Film Festival, Mountainfilm, St. Patrick’s Church, and the Telluride Mushroom Festival. She also served on the board of the Telluride Historical Museum.

Kate joined the Telluride Hospital District board in 2008, then left to start the 501(c3) Telluride Medical Center Foundation:

“I have to say I am proud of the lasting impact I have been able to make on the staff with all the life saving/necessary equipment and to have been able to form great relationships with our generous donors and be a bridge so that their wishes could have a lasting impact on the work at the Medical Center. In the near term, I hope the Med Center’s Mill Levy will pass. And, in the long-term, I hope to see an endowment as the Med Center moves into its capital campaign for the new, much-needed, long overdue facility.”

Amen and continuing success in your next venture Kate.

2 Responses

  1. Eric johnson says:

    Congratulations Kate you will be missed. I admire all the wonderful work you’ve done over the years and I always loved seeing your smiling face at TMC. I wish you the best in retirement and I hope to see you soon.♥️