With the deliberateness and precision of a military maneuver, Jack Hill stepped towards the crowd and provided Rotarians with several updates at the civic club’s weekly meeting Tuesday.

Hill, administrator of Northwest Regional Medical Mississippi Center, said improvements are being seen at the Clarksdale hospital, but encouraged Rotarians to investigate and determine the success of the facility on their own.

“Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear,” Hill said. “Come see us if you need us. There are a lot of good things going on with new doctors and new equipment, but we’re not good enough. I want us to be even better.”

Hill said his ultimate goal at NWMRMC is for all patients to leave with a positive experience.

“Previously, if we lost a kid’s shoes, we’d send them home in sock feet,” Hill said. “Now if we lose their shoes, we buy them new ones. It’s little things like that. This is your hospital and we want you to be satisfied with your stay.”

Hill admitted that “word spreads around here.” He said he encourages staff to “strive for perfection but settle for excellence,” in paraphrasing a quote from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi.

In addition to his role at the hospital, Hill has also been extremely involved in the early stages of the Delta Bridges project. Funded by Southern Bancorp and the Walton Foundation, Hill said the economic and social improvements that are possible could make for an exciting time in Clarksdale.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” Hill said. “These groups want to help our area. Is it perfect? No. But the opportunity is there to really change lives.”

A kickoff for the Delta Bridges planning initiatives will be held in June. Community involvement will be key, Hill said as Delta Bridges is looking for “20,000 voices to be heard.”

“After the planning, within a year, we will have a blueprint for what there is to be accomplished here,” Hill said. “Everyone here wants thriving businesses, hospitals, etc. They’re going to help us try to do that.”

The timing of the Delta Bridges kickoff coincides with another big event in Hill’s life – a year-long deployment with the military Reserve unit in which he serves.

“It hurts because I’m excited about this time in Clarksdale,” Hill said. “It’s hard to leave at this time.”

In his absence, Hill humbly said that “people better than me” will fill his shoes at NWRMC.

“It’s depressing,” Hill said of his qualified replacements, amid laughter.

Joe Webb will take on an increased role, along with an interim chief nurse who is “probably one of the best I’ve ever seen.”

“I leave and the team gets better,” Hill said.  “But I’ll stay involved in what’s going on here.”