Betty Ford Center celebrates 30th anniversary

Betty Ford Clinic

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - A new monument now stands in the Betty Ford Center that's stood in Rancho Mirage for 30 years.

"It's another way to honor the lady whose vision created this," Betty Ford Center President and CEO John T. Schwarzlose said.

A little over a week ago, board members and even Betty Ford's son, Jack, and grandson, Jonathon, celebrated the unveiling of the statue.

"Without Mrs. Ford, it was very poignant. It was sad. We all missed her, but we did have John, who started 30 years ago at her side, sort of her other arm, her attachment, was there guiding us through the weekend," Madeline Redstone, on the Betty Ford Center Board of Directors, said.

As the CEO, John T. Schwarzlose will guide the Betty Ford Center during its next 30 years -- plus.

"We are the best known program in the world. We have a staff that is incomparable in terms of their qualifications and what they bring to each patient. How do we maintain that?" Schwarzlose said.

He answered his own question, carrying on Betty Ford's history of excellence.

"Staff is a big part. How you recruit them and how you retain them. When you look at our medical staff, and some of our clinical leadership, they've been here 15, 20 years."

The statue was intentionally placed in the lobby, so it's the first thing patients see when they walk through the doors.

"The idea was seeing this woman that meant so much to people for how much she cared, will say to them 'I've come to the right place. I know now I've made the right decision to come here.' We think Mrs. Ford will put her arms around them and make them feel that way," Schwarzlose said.

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