A Celebration of a Richmond Institution

Sheltering Arms Marks its 120th Anniversary by Looking Back and Looking Forward

Sheltering Arms Hospital in 1890(Richmond, Virginia) – Despite being a city full of history, there are few institutions that are as much a part of the fabric of Richmond, Virginia area as Sheltering Arms.  This year, the non-profit born in the post-Civil War Reconstruction era turns 120 years old and is looking forward to its future while looking back at its rich history.

Longtime residents of Metro Richmond know that Sheltering Arms is not only a premier physical rehabilitation healthcare provider, but was also the first acute care hospital in the city founded with a mission of treating all patients regardless of ability to pay.

When Sheltering Arms first opened its doors in February of 1889, no one realized that it would become the tradition that it is today.  The organization began as the vision of a young woman named Rebekah Peterkin. Moved by the suffering of those around her, Ms. Peterkin made it her mission to help working families in Richmond.  Local physicians and nurses gave of their time to see patients at the fledgling hospital, and an executive Board of women devoted their hearts and their time to keeping it running. They sought funds and supplies from those who could spare them and even made the hospital’s first blankets by sewing newspapers inside cotton covers.

In 1894, Sheltering Arms moved to Clay Street, and this institution of caring was firmly established. Over the years, thousands of people who could not afford to be sick were nursed back to health at Sheltering Arms.

Over time, it became obvious that the mission of Sheltering Arms was being filled by other organizations, but an unmet need still remained.  In January of 1981, Sheltering Arms became the first private freestanding physical rehabilitation hospital in Virginia, and since then has been helping patients find the Power to Overcome the obstacles they face due to illness or injury.

“Sheltering Arms has a proud history of serving the people of Central Virginia, and while we help them in a very different way now than we did decades ago, our mission of improving lives has never changed,” said Sheltering Arms President Jim Sok.

With these goals always at the forefront, Sheltering Arms is renewing its commitment to offering the best care to meet the rehabilitative needs of Central Virginia.  The organization pairs leading-edge therapies with the compassionate hard work of its therapists to create the most comprehensive and extensive network of rehabilitation care in Central Virginia.  Today, Sheltering Arms is made up of two hospitals, day rehab programs, outpatient physician and therapy clinics, day recreation, support groups, and fitness and pool memberships and classes.

Images from Sheltering Arms’ history are available for use in media stories.  Links to two such images can be found below, with additional images available on request.

Members of the media who would like to arrange an interview with Sheltering Arms about its history or future should call the contact listed at the top of this release.

About Sheltering Arms
Sheltering Arms helps patients find the Power to Overcome the obstacles of illness and injury with a complete range of physical rehabilitation and wellness services.  To learn more about Sheltering Arms’ two hospitals and seven outpatient clinics, visit www.ShelteringArms.com, or call 1-877-56-REHAB.