From Humble Beginnings to Philanthropic Leaders
The Impact of Roy and Dee Haley
For the last 20 years, Central Florida has been home to Roy and Dee Haley, catalysts for several major initiatives at Orlando Health.
Roy grew up in a family of five, in a small home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He spent his childhood as most do – going to school, playing ball, roller skating and riding bikes with the neighborhood kids. As a teenager, he excelled as class president and captain of his public high school’s football team, until a serious neck injury led him away from sports. Roy attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), leading to his career as Chairman and CEO of WESCO International, Inc., a Fortune 500 supplier of construction and industrial maintenance materials based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Dee and Roy’s paths crossed in the early 1980’s, when both were working in Houston, Texas. Dee worked in accounting positions in the banking and energy industries. A mutual friend recognized their match in personality and interests and introduced the two, setting off a long life together as they reared a family of three children. They now have four grandchildren, who delight in visits to “the Grandma house” in Orlando.
Both Roy and Dee came from families with humble beginnings and they understand, from first-hand experience, the importance of offering a helping hand. As children, their parents relied on occasional support of family, friends and church members to provide help when needed. During their early schooling, the Haleys became attuned to the challenges faced by children afflicted by birth defects and polio. As young adults, they became active supporters of the March of Dimes. Later, when a friend of the family, Ryan, battled multiple recurrences of childhood cancer before passing away at the age of 21, Roy and Dee became determined to find ways to support cancer victims and survivors.
“These experiences have driven our passion to help improve the lives of women, children and babies,” remarked Dee.
After being attracted to Orlando due to its beautiful lake systems, convenient national airport and so many attractions for their growing family, Dee took an interest in a new hospital being built downtown - Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. She encouraged Roy to investigate the hospital’s plans, so he went right to the source – introducing himself to Arnold Palmer as Mr. Palmer practiced hitting balls at his golf club. Soon, Roy and Dee met with the President of the Orlando Health Foundation, John Bozard. They became supporting members of the Foundation and learned more about the wide-ranging services at Orlando Health.
Over the years, mutual trust and respect developed between the Haleys and hospital leadership. Roy and Dee shifted their time and interest in business careers into life-changing healthcare advancements for patients treated within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the Haley Center for Children’s Cancer & Blood Disorders and The Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families. Very quickly, their support became crucial to the needs of capital and equipment campaigns, operating staff expansion and program initiatives, including the recruitment of world-renowned physicians.
“We have been able to play an active role in supporting a broad range of new initiatives,” says Roy. “It has been enormously interesting to have learned so much about the increasing range of medical capabilities and advanced treatment methods available right here in our home town.”