Baptist Hospital celebrated 20 years of dedicated service from hometown son, Ed Lacy, by honoring him with a reception when he recently retired. Lacy said he was fortunate to be a hospital administrator in Heber Springs for the past 20 years and he enjoyed the job, but said “Things can get stagnant and it’s time for new leadership.”
Lacy was raised in Ida and graduated from Heber Springs High School in 1969. He joined ROTC during college and applied for flight school, but said there were too many in that program and he ended up in the Army Medical Service Corps for 23 years where he was a hospital administrator for the first time.
Being in the military requires long work hours and puts you in high-stress jobs. Lacy said if you’re married while in the military you have to have a good, strong wife and good kids. He said his wife of almost 35 years, Marsha, was a good military wife. He told of when they had just arrived in Oslo, Norway he was sent to Germany for five weeks for a NATO logistics course. Marsha was left in a hotel in Oslo with their first two children, who were still quite small, while he was gone. Upon his return he found that she had already found a house, signed a lease, and arranged to have furniture delivered.
Lacy said they figured it up once and had calculated that they had moved a total of 19 times in an 11 year span. It was while he was stationed in Alabama that an opening for a hospital administrator came up in McGehee, Arkansas. At that point he retired from the military and began working as a civilian.
After one year at McGehee, a full-time vacancy became available at the Heber Springs Baptist Hospital. Lacy saw it as an opportunity to return home and applied for the position.
Of the 20 years that Lacy was the hospital administrator for Baptist Health, he worked nine of those years at the old facility on Hwy. 110 west before the new hospital was built 11 years ago. Lacy commented that he was given an “opportunity that most administrators never have, to open a new hospital; especially these days when finances are so tight.”
As rewarding as his tenure as the hospital administrator has been, the 67-year-old community servant said he has worked since he graduated from college and planned ahead for his retirement. After training his replacement, Kevin Storey, Lacy’s retirement began 20 years to the day from when he began working at Baptist Hospital.
Lacy has been keeping pretty busy working with the Gideons International ministries since his retirement. Gideons is an evangelical Christian association known for distributing copies of the Bible to hotels, hospitals, schools, the military, and prisons. Lacy said he went with the Gideons to Aguas Calientes, Mexico several years ago and is now planning to go to Ghana with them in the near future.
Combining an interest in travel with his ministries, Lacy recently returned from the Gideons convention in New Orleans, then went to Panama City, Florida to meet up with a former Army buddy. From there, he and Marsha went to Gulf Shores to visit a daughter and her husband and to relax.
Though they don’t have any grandchildren yet, Lacy and his wife do have four adult children, two boys and two girls, all living in Conway. He hopes to be able to spend more time with them. The Lacys have no plans to downsize, but Marsha would like to get an RV for their travels.
Traveling may have to wait a while though. The Lacy family is in the cattle business which keeps Ed busy with his dad, Guy. With the exception of a couple of charolais and a couple of Herefords, the Lacys have about 150 head of Black Angus beef cattle. Ed says his dad “is the brain-power, I just make it happen.” Ninety-four-year-old Guy certainly doesn’t look or act his age, staying very active in the business.
Lacy said they don’t have breeding issues they’ve had in the past because his dad has “an expert eye for the genetics,” resulting in calves with low birth weights, virtually eliminating birthing problems they used to have all the time. He said they sell the steers, but sometimes keep a few heifers for breeding and building the herd.
Besides raising cattle, the Lacys also grow & harvest their own fescue and Bermuda grass hay. Lacy said, “ My dad has probably more hay experience than anyone in the county, so we raise quality hay.” He says they usually don’t have to buy hay, but there has been years that everybody was hurting because of draught. They supplement their hay with mineral barrels.
When asked about retirement activities, Lacy said he thinks he’s tried everything he wants to try. He doesn’t intend to go back to the hospital as a patient. He’s been kept busy with his cattle and the hay, and he’s a member of the Cleburne County Cattlemen’s Association.
At his retirement reception Lacy was gifted a really nice trip to Branson that he said they haven’t had time to use yet. Right now he’s “just looking forward to not having to go to a job” and has been sleeping in to 7:00 or 7:30 in the morning. Once in awhile he even sleeps in until 8:00!