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5/9/2013 10:49:00 AM
Lasting legacy for small-town pharmacist

"If it's important to you, it's important to me." Patients knew Reed Qualey by this statement he often repeated in his 25 years as head pharmacist for Mayo Clinic Health System and owner of Scofield Drug. "Late one Sunday night during a huge snowstorm he took medications to a family with a really sick child," recalls Rich Qualey, one of Reed's twin sons. "He truly cared about all his patients and would do whatever was important to keep them well."

Reed cared about not only what was important to individual patients, but the needs of the community at large as well. He was active on the hospital board and the planning committee for the future of medicine in Cannon Falls as well as the area Chamber of Commerce until his untimely death in August 2012.

The entire community of Cannon Falls celebrated Reed's life and mourned his death at John Burch Park, one of the few places that could accommodate the crowds that paid their respects to his service and care.

"He was a huge supporter of the campaign to build a new hospital here," says Tara Duden, another of Reed's four children. "All the siblings met as a family and decided that we would follow through with his wishes, just like he followed through on things that were important to his patients."

All four of Reed's children make their homes in Cannon Falls. Tara's two children attend area schools and her husband owns a local business. "The affiliation with Mayo Clinic gives us a nice mix of small-town comforts with big name medicine," says Tara. "It's the best of both worlds, because you're getting world-class care but you're getting it from your friends and neighbors."

Rich teaches social studies and coaches baseball and football in Randolph Public Schools, and he has a one-year-old child. "The hospital is a big draw for our community," says Rich. "My Dad thought having a new facility was really important for the future of Cannon Falls, and he would donate to it himself if he were here."

Ryan Qualey, Rich's twin brother, has three children in area schools plus another at home and is a member of the Cannon Falls Fire Department. "In April 1994 my Dad got really sick, and we would have lost him then without the emergency care he received in Cannon Falls," says Ryan. "We realized that it's so important to have a state-of-the-art facility right in your backyard."

The Qualeys are honoring their father's legacy by supporting the community campaign to supplement Mayo Clinic's investment in a new medical center in Cannon Falls. "Our family feels that by supporting the Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, we are continuing our father's legacy by giving the community and surrounding areas a happier, healthier future," says Laura Qualey, Reed's daughter who managed the drug store with her father.

Mayo Clinic Health System recently broke ground on the project which will be completed in late 2014. The final approval for the project came in February after years of planning and extensive support from the community.

The new facility will have up to 90,000 square feet or nearly three times more space than the current building. The clinic, hospital, emergency department and operating rooms in the new facility will allow Mayo Clinic Health System to expand services, improve privacy and add new technology. The facility will also better facilitate collaboration among care teams. Patients and visitors can expect an overall improved experience.

To learn more about the new medical center, visit mayoclinichealthsystem.org and select the Cannon Falls location.

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