FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

For more information: 
Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate
Dori Jennings (614) 464-2020 x.105
[email protected]

 

The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness and Kingston HealthCare Company honor Mercy Health North 
and Bob Baxter with the People of Vision Award

Toledo, OH (March 18, 2020) – Due to the recent developments around COVID-19 and the safety 
recommendations from the Ohio Department of Health and the CDC, Mercy Health North and Bob Baxter 
were presented with the 2020 People of Vision Award virtually instead of through the in person 
event that was scheduled to take place at the Inverness Club in Toledo on March 18th.

Since 1985, The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness has recognized and awarded select organizations 
and their leaders for “visionary” leadership and community service. The People of Vision Award 
Dinner has become one of Northwest Ohio’s premier charitable events in support of The Ohio 
Affiliate of Prevent Blindness (PBO) and its mission to prevent blindness and preserve sight.

After receiving the 2019 People of Vision Award, George Rumman and Kingston HealthCare Company 
served as chair of this year’s event. Mr. Rumman asked that we join him in honoring Mercy Health 
North and Bob Baxter for their amazing work in Northwest Ohio. Mr. Rumman feels Mercy Health North 
and Bob Baxter are worthy recipients of this honor. He stated…

“Bob Baxter serves as President of Mercy Health North for Bon Secours Mercy Health, the largest 
health system in Ohio. As a leader in Northwest Ohio, Bob oversees strategy and operation for eight 
hospitals, one college, and more than 100 sites of care across Northwest Ohio and Southeast 
Michigan. The Northwest Ohio Markets employ more than 5,500 staff and 400 providers, experiences 
more than 47,000 admissions and has net operating revenue of greater than $1 billion.”

Mr. Rumman stressed the great work that Mr. Baxter does himself to improve the Northwest Ohio 
community. He stated….

“Bob is a member of the Board of Directors for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Regional Growth 
Partnership, United Way of Greater Toledo, and ConnecToledo Downtown Development Corporation. He 
previously served as a delegate to the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board, a 
member of the ACHE Chapters Committee,

President of the South Dakota Healthcare Executive Group and received the ACHE Early Career 
Healthcare Executives Regent Award.”

Mercy Health North and Bob Baxter, President, proudly accepted this honor through the following 
statement…

“Like many people, good vision is a thing I had taken for granted in my life. Other than the normal 
corrective lenses that most families go through, we never had to really struggle with challenges 
related to eyesight.

That changed when I met my wife. From birth, my wife had several vision problems that needed to be 
addressed. Starting as a child she had to undergo several eye surgeries to correct her vision, 
including not only the clarity of her vision, but also depth
perception. None of those surgeries were entirely successful and to this day she has a natural 
nystagmus and poor vision. In fact, my wife would qualify as being legally blind. That doesn't 
necessarily mean she can't see or even drive, but it does provide some measure of the challenges 
she has worked through. She has never let that stop her from reaching her goals, but I have often 
wondered how different her life may have been if modern treatments had been available to her as a 
child. Frankly, I am thankful she never got a good look at me while we were dating or she never 
would’ve married me!

When our twins daughters, Hope and Faith, were born they were very premature. Prematurity comes 
with a lot of challenges, some of them you expect and some of them are a surprise. They spent six 
weeks in the NICU and during that time I had yet another reason to not take good vision for 
granted. One of the concerns we faced during their time at the hospital was the potential 
retinopathy of prematurity. This is an condition associated with being a premature infant on oxygen 
which can lead to the loss of eyesight. While we were fortunate and things worked out well, things 
could have turned out very differently.

So when the Prevent Blindness Ohio asked me to support their work by being this year’s honoree at 
the People of Vision event it was an easy decision to embrace it. I want to thank the many donors 
and sponsors of this year's event for their support, without whom this work would not be possible.”

PBO is proud to honor Mercy Health North and Bob Baxter with the People of Vision Award. Sherry 
Williams, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate, stated…

“Mercy Health North has been a great partner with Prevent Blindness here in Northwest Ohio since 
2005. They have contributed nearly $75,000 to support the sight saving programs right here in the 
greater Toledo area.”

Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate looks forward to the 2021 People of Vision Award event where 
Mercy Health North and Bob Baxter will serve as chair of the event.

About Prevent Blindness
Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety 
organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of 
vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and 
professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient 
service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the 
American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness is committed to eliminating 
preventable blindness in America. For more information, or to contribute to the sight- saving fund, 
call 1-800-331-2020. Visit us on the web at pbohio.org, Facebook at facebook.com/pbohio/, or 
Twitter at twitter.com/PB_Ohio.

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