As the Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital news permeated the area, one quickly realizes how truly tremendous the impact it will have. OLBH will close by Sept. 30.

Just check out social media. Physicians have expressed dismay, nurses are distraught, regular patients posted disgruntled statements — and the shock factor is real.

For the last 67 years, Bellefonte Hospital has been a dependable establishment in northeastern Kentucky.

For some, it’s the preferred place for health care in the area. That’s no disrespect to any other medical facility.

The response and aftermath will be interesting to follow. It’s amazing to witness the immediate reaction from other medical facilities, health care companies and residents.

Initial thoughts revolve around the approximately 1,000 affected employees and their families.

Job fairs, including the one St. Mary’s and Cabell Huntington conducted on Wednesday, have popped up. Job postings are circulating social media. People are offering a helping hand in whatever way possible, and they’re uttering prayers and kind words for everyone involved.

Perhaps Ashland city commissioner Matt Perkins said it best on Facebook: “It fills my heart with joy to see the many companies jumping in to offer job fairs to keep our people working. We really do have a special place here in eastern Kentucky.”

We agree with Perkins. We are truly in a special place that is full of folks who support one another.

Let’s hold strong to the thought that hope is on the horizon.

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