Saturday, August 09, 2008

Castener Hospital

Castener Hospital in Puerto Rico came into existence in August 1942, when the first Brethren Service Commission conscientious objection medical unit arrived in Castener ready to begin work. The Medical Unit had been trained for service in China but was not permitted to go because of the entrance of the United States into World War II. The unit was sent instead to Puerto Rico, a United States territory. It was named the Martin G. Brumbaugh Reconstruction Unit after the Brethren educator appointed by President McKinley in 1900 as the first US Commissioner of Education for Puerto Rico.

The Brethren Service Commission had begun exploringing the feasibility of establishing a CPS unit in Puerto Rico as early as April of 1942 when Andrew Cordier was sent to investigate. His reports were favorable. David and Janet Blickenstaff were sent in June to organize the work under the local government, and the unit arrived in August.

Programs were established in medical care, community health and recreation, nutrition, sanitation, education and resources. A Brethren academy was opened for graduates of ninth grade in 1948, the same year the Castener congregation was started. A modern 33-bed hospital was built in 1959 and officially turned over to a local board of directors in 1976.

Source: The Brethren Encyclopedia