Longview’s Good Shepherd Medical Center (GSMC) honored the achievements and vital accomplishments of its volunteer auxiliary with a special luncheon at local Pinecrest Country Club on this week. The vital contributions of the hospital’s volunteer force over the past year will be recognized for making possible GSMC’s mission to insure the overall health and general welfare of the Gregg County area’s many residents. GSMC Volunteer Services Coordinator Pat Watson described the crucial role these volunteers play.
“Our volunteers are one of the most valuable assets at the hospital,” she said. “They selflessly dedicate their time and energy to all those who come through our hospital doors, whether they are a patient, relative or staff member.”
First established as Gregg Memorial Hospital’s Womens’ Auxiliary in 1956, in 1972 the volunteer cadre was amended to the Good Shepherd Hospital Auxiliary. It has expended to more than 170 members serving in 30 of the hospital’s areas for almost 45,000 total hours yearly. This is equal to 27 full-time, paid employees with an approximate in-kind value of $900,000 annually. This traditionally female force is being steadily integrated with men, whose contribution is significant.
During its 58-year lifetime, this not-for-profit organization has contributed more than $3 million to the hospital and its foundation by such fund-raising resources as the GSMC gift shop, book fairs, electronic shows and jewelry sales. Such ongoing financing supports Volunteer Auxiliary projects, the hospital and its patients. Recent projects include:
* New flat-screen televisions and solar shades for all patient rooms in the Medical Center’s East Tower–total Auxiliary contribution: $200,000.
* Renovations to the Medical Center’s fifth and sixth floors, including new furniture, signs, artwork, computer stations, floorings and window treatments–total Auxiliary contribution: $96,000.
* Ninety new flat-screen televisions for all patient rooms in the Medical Center’s Tower A–total Auxiliary contribution: $87,000.
Earlier auxiliary fund-raisings have financed such GSMC projects as $36,000 for new equipment, computer software, and training for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, $295,000 toward new cardiac equipment, and $500,000 for an Emergency Room expansion. The Auxiliary also raised $25,000 for the Level IIIa Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and $600,000 for the Institute for Healthy Living.
Additional services made possible by Auxiliary assistance include:
* Christmas stockings for babies born in December (handmade by Auxiliary members.) These stockings are made large enough so that newborns can be taken home from the hospital wearing them. This is one of the Auxiliary’s oldest and most popular services.
* Some Auxiliary members make funerary “angel gowns” to be given to the parents of premature infants who do not survive. The Auxiliary also provides grieving families with “Memory Boxes.”
* Two Auxiliary members sew “walker bags” for rehab patients to carry their personal effects in while using walkers. These lovely tapestry containers are highly prized by patients for their beauty, craftsmanship and usefulness.
* Auxiliary members also participate year-round in such community assistance events as “A Fair of the Heart” and others.
Besides their contributions of time, service and monetary assistance, Auxiliary members award scholarships to qualifying students pursuing careers in the health field. Since its creation this fund has been sustained by such avenues as baby photography, memorials, honoraria and related projects.
Through the years this Auxiliary Scholarship Fund has raised almost $100,000.
Service in the Good Shepherd Medical Center Volunteer Auxiliary is open to the public. Those wishing to participate should submit applications at the Volunteer Office adjacent to the GSMC Gift Shop. For additional information please call (903) 315-2199.
By Kelly Bell/ETR