TROY - John Vineski of Canton was thinking of his late father and uncle as he signed his name on a long, white beam Wednesday at the Troy Vets Club.

The beam is for the new Guthrie Troy Community Hospital, which is taking shape just outside Troy Borough along Route 6.

Later this month, the beam will be raised into place in a topping-out ceremony. Guthrie Health said the raising of the final beam signifies the completion of the steel structure of the new hospital.

From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, the public was invited to sign their names on the beam in a beam-signing ceremony at the Vets Club. Vineski was one of many people who showed up.

"This is a family tradition," Vineski, the mayor of Canton, said about his decision to sign the beam. Vineski explained that his father, Robert, and uncle, Theodore, had ties to the current hospital. His father had once done legal work and his uncle did electrical work for the hospital.

Around Vineski, people picked up black felt-tip pens and signed their names for posterity. Their handwriting stood out like a baseball player's signature on a bright, new ball.

Another mayor in western Bradford County, Troy Mayor Mike Powers, also signed his name on the beam.

"A tradition with major construction projects, the signing of the final beam by the entire

community symbolizes the community's involvement and pride in the new Guthrie Troy

Community Hospital," Guthrie Health stated in a news release.

At 3:30 p.m., three hospital officials - hospital president Staci Covey, Dr. Vance Good, president of the medical staff, and Kenneth Levitzky, chairman of the hospital board - shared some remarks with the audience.

Covey said it was a day to "celebrate the community's involvement" in the new hospital.

"And we're so happy to see so many community members here to sign the beam."

"This beam signifies Guthrie's commitment to improving patient care in the region," she said. "Each signature symbolizes the people who will shape the future of medicine in the Troy region for many years to come."

She noted the old hospital is more than 65 years old, "so we certainly think this new facility is going to last at least that long, if not longer."

Good said it was a "great day," and said Guthrie is building a new hospital that "befits" the quality of people working there. He provided a history of Troy Community Hospital through the years.

Levitzky remembered a board member, Nancy Simaitis, who passed away. He said she would have wanted to sign the beam. He felt that she "is with us today."

According to Guthrie, construction of the new Guthrie Troy Community Hospital will be completed in August 2013. For now, people can keep up to date with the construction of the new hospital by going to the following website: www.troyhospital.org, where they can watch video from an on-site camera.

In a news release, Guthrie noted that "the $30 million project will bring a state-of-the-art critical access hospital to the region, featuring all private rooms and expanded surgical and emergency room capabilities. The site also has space for a helipad to save precious time in patient transfers."

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: reviewtroy@thedailyreview.com.