Auxiliary fills many needs at hospital

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Fayette Faces

By Panzi Blackwell

Fayette County Hospital Auxiliary volunteer Beulah Brown noted in her report on Dec. 5, 2000, that she had been a volunteer of at least 16 years, and that she enjoyed the work because she felt the auxiliary volunteers helped where help was needed.

She further noted that the earliest minutes she had found were dated Dec. 1, 1958. She said that when she joined the auxiliary, all they had was a desk in the lobby. Then, a glass display case was added, and people would bring items in for the ladies to place in the case and sell for them.
Some Auxiliary History
The office was founded by the board of directors. Mrs. N.M. Eldridge of St. Elmo was president.
At the time, there were chapters from St. Elmo, Brownstown, Vernon, Shobonier, Farina, St. Peter, Ramsey and Vandalia, and some from Altamont.
Each chapter would work a schedule, and they would meet once a month to coordinate. Duties at this time were mending of hospital linen and gowns, daytime staffing of hospital chaplain’s office, receiving visiting clergymen, registering patients, (working as) receptionist and escorting patients, taking care of library, and keep, maintain and preserve attendance records. At this time, the old hospital was called the annex or nursing home.
The auxiliary was in charge of special birthdays and anniversaries, and made tray favors.By the second meeting, they decided to order uniforms.
Brown further noted the O.B. Unit “was well-used,” and the auxiliary was making layettes and bibs for it.
Children received puppets made by the auxiliary. Their income was from bazaars, bake sales and selling postcards of the hospital.
By 1965, the auxiliary planned to start giving scholarships to encourage more girls to go into nursing. They served the OR waiting room, front desk, Long Term Care, helping with health fairs and blood drives, and as helpers in eye surgeries.
Men began serving the past year as couriers, and they were called Red Coats. Brown noted that a lot of red or pink (ladies’ smocks) were seen at the hospital every day.   
Purchases Made by the Auxiliary “Back Then”
Brown had listed a few purchases they made for the hospital including: O.B. delivery table, $13; electric typewriter, $562.50; P.A. system for annex, $350; and therapy equipment-$7,000.
In 1962, it purchased seven TV sets for patients’ rooms, at a charge to the patient of $1.60 a day, and in 1965, it bought an infant resuscitation machine  for the maternity ward for $350.
As the years records were available, Brown listed more purchases and donations toward hospital equipment, including a mammography machine, defibrillator and pain pump.
In 1994, it gave five $200 scholarships, bought new lamps for the waiting room and funded a $5,000 upgrade for the cafeteria, including the salad bar. It sold cookbooks that year for income.
And Today’s Auxiliary
The Auxiliary today still does many of the previous listed things, and more.
Sayona Perry (auxiliary president for four years),  Mardell Carpenter (gift shop manager) and Phyllis Thoman (treasurer and covers the front desk and operating room waiting room, graciously took time out to talk about today’s Auxiliary.
Sayona Perry, the auxiliary president for four years, joined in 2005, inspired by her mother, Jane Hall, and her daughter, Ally Perry
“We have about 50 names on the volunteer list, but only approximately 30 are active at ths time. We need volunteers, either men or women,” Perry said.
“Right now, we have three men serving – Don Diveley, Dean Black and Rod Deem.
The volunteers still cover the front desk, the POR waiting room and LTC, and maintain the gift shop, located in the hospital lobby.
They gave four $500 scholarships this year to students in the medical field/nursing.
They also recently purchased chemo chairs and wheelchairs, and tables and chairs for the Long Term care dining room, CPR equipment/mannequins, and helped toward the new mammogram machine.
They still hold craft bazaars, bake sales, etc., and all money raised through these fundraisers goes to the hospital.
Some of the over-the-years volunteers have logged many hours.
Shirley Locke has given well over 20,000 hours. Lorene Brown and Beulah Brown also have many hours in, as they have been faithful volunteers for many years.
Anyone interested in serving as an auxiliary volunteer, may pick up an application at the hospital or from Ricky Gottman. The hours and day(s) the volunteer can serve are up to the individual.
Auxiliary Fundraiser Coming Up
The auxiliary’s craft bazaar and bake sale will be held on Nov. 16, from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. The gift shop will also be open. Both offer excellent opportunities for early shopping for special gifts.
The gift shop offers many different choices for large or small gifts for everyone. It carries handbags, most of which are one-of-a-kind; scarves; cards; jewelry; angel and other figurines; and items for children and men, the perfect place to shop for a perfect gift.
Another event coming up at the Fayette County Hospital is the Health Fair, which will be held on Oct. 12.