Dan Bailey was born at Tucson Medical Center, as were his two younger brothers. It was the early 1950s, when anything east of Wilmot was a dirt road.
He came to TMC for the usual childhood emergencies: the occasional asthma attack, a dog bite. But he had no way to know then how often his life would intersect with his neighborhood hospital – both in joy and in sorrow.
After graduation, he served in the Navy – he jokes the draft was the only lottery he ever won. When he was discharged, he came to TMC to work in the respiratory therapy department. Back then, in the early 70s, patients were still being treated in some of the surrounding courtyard buildings. Because they didn’t have piped-in oxygen, he would roll the heavy oxygen cylinders from place to place – loving every minute of it, from the interaction with the patients to the challenge of helping when called upon in an emergency to help with CPR.
During the Christmas holidays, he would go to the TMC holiday parties of then-CEO Don Shropshire, who lived in the on-campus home that had belonged to the hospital’s founder, Anna Erickson.
But Bailey’s stint in healthcare was soon to end, after a program called Troops to Teachers lured him into the classroom and launched a lifelong career in education. Aside from teaching, he would serve as a football and high school track coach and as the principal of Catalina High School magnet in Tucson Unified School District – and all while welcoming four children into the world at TMC.
During those years at Catalina, he worked closely with TMC in workforce development, sending about 10 Catalina students a year to begin careers as nurses. He still sees them from time to time.
He closed out his education career as superintendent of the Pomerene School District near Benson for six years.
TMC was also part of the most difficult experience in his life. It was February 2010, on the day that his wife was having her second knee replacement surgery at TMC. His 32-year-old daughter was killed in a car crash that morning on her way to Willcox. While his wife recovered physically, nurses and volunteers made sure the family had meals and a recliner for Dan that folded into a bed, as well as a private place to plan services for their daughter.
When Bailey retired three years ago, he knew he wanted to come back and volunteer, hoping for an active role that would include interaction with patients. He joined TMC’s Patient Assistance Team, which checks in with newly admitted patients to visit with them and share information about the hospital and heath care.
Bailey now serves as the president of TMC’s Auxiliary, which is comprised of nearly 500 volunteers working in more than 40 areas of the hospital, as well as providing financial support to the hospital, raising more than $300,000 last year.
In his two year term, he is hoping to support the Auxiliary’s goals of self-governance, while transitioning decision-making to committees and supporting their goals of establishing standardized work processes.
“TMC has been there for my family throughout the years,” Bailey said. “Volunteering has been rewarding to be able to serve others, but also to support the hospital’s efforts to improve care for the community.”