Gem County: A Brief Medical History

Gem County is dedicated to promoting a healthy community, creating a better quality of life for residents.  

Since the 1890’s several physicians set up permanent residence to serve the Emmett, Sweet and Ola areas by horse and buggy. From 1905 until the first hospital opened in 1937, all types of medical care were delivered by a number of dedicated physicians in the patients’ homes or office settings (“The Village That Grew”). Each step of the evolution of healthcare in Gem County was made possible by passionate members of the community who gave their time, money and resources for the purpose of that healthier community.

In 1937, Dr. C.E. Carver opened the first hospital in Emmett. Dedicated to his mother, and named in her memory, the Mary Secor Hospital included patient rooms, an operating room, laboratory, examination rooms and a nursery. Dr. Carver and his associates, Dr. Rawlinson and Dr. Newcomb, collaborated with many local organizations and individuals to furnish the new hospital (Gem County Historical Society). The Mary Secor Hospital was in operation for twenty-five years.

In 1963, Mary Secor closed and Walter Knox Memorial Hospital was opened. A portion of land where the hospital was built was donated by the Knox Family, in remembrance of Mr. Walter Knox, a Gem County pioneer, rancher and county commissioner. The hospital was named in his honor.

In 2015 the name was changed to Valor Health, representing a new organizational structure and local health system. The hospital remains a county owned hospital serving all of Gem County.

Valor Health is committed to our past, as well as the future. In 2016, the Valor Health main campus was dedicated as the Walter Knox Campus. A Walter Knox memorial plaque and monument will be placed in front of the hospital. Looking forward, in 2017 The Mary Secor Walking Path will be built encircling the Walter Knox Campus.

Valor Health is excited to develop The Valor Health Foundation, a fundraising organization for the health system. The Foundation will promote charitable giving, support Valor Health values and improve the health and well-being of Gem County residents today and tomorrow.