Kremmling Memorial Hospital Auxiliary has lowest membership in history
July 20, 2008
It was a simple but significant act of kindness that made me appreciate health care volunteers even more ” and made me sad to think of the possibility of having a rural hospital without them.
At the end of last week I drove to St. Anthony’s Central in Denver to give a presentation to a team of case managers and social workers explaining Kremmling Hospital services and touting our fine physicians and other medical staff members.
The moment I walked through the front lobby doors I was greeted with smiles and even a hand gesture that seemed to indicate I was expected. I approached the gentleman in the light blue jacket clearly labeled with “Auxiliary Volunteer,” what must have been six or seven recognition and award pins and a shinny name tag. I told him where I needed to go and he was more than happy to personally escort me to the conference room where I was to speak.
As we walked by the gift shop wonderful ladies wearing red and white striped jumpers, indicating that they too were volunteers, beamed smiles at me and motioned more waves of kindness.
Later, we passed a woman wearing the same type of jumper pushing a snack cart, also making sure to smile and say hi. Not 10 steps further and another gentleman in his blue jacket was holding a huge bouquet of flowers waiting for the elevator to no doubt deliver some warm thoughts to someone in need ” and yes, I got another smile and another hello. In short, he and all of the other volunteers, made me feel genuinely welcome. These volunteers were clearly an important part of the Denver hospital.
The Kremmling Memorial Hospital Auxiliary also plays a significant role at our hospital. Although there is not a gift shop to run, there is a bird room, sing-alongs, holiday decorating, long-term care visits, book readings, administrative assistance, fund raisers, medical scholarships, continued medical education funding and more. The danger is that the volunteer numbers have dwindled to three to five active members, putting too much work on too few.
Those members are all, with the exception of one, hospital employees.
“The idea is to have community members be volunteers,” said Cindy Callihan, president of the auxiliary and nurse manager said. These remaining members are considering making the heart-wrenching decision to possibly disband and hand over a final donation to the hospital if community members aren’t able to join and contribute.
This column is a call for volunteers. Women and men can volunteer. High school students with interests in any medical field including administration, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, nursing or med school would benefit from a hospital volunteer experience.
“We want to give it another try and tell the community that we need their help,” said Laureen Myers, Auxiliary founding member (1976) said. “Once people join they will feel an incredible sense of contributing to others and find that their own lives have been enriched.”
Those who join the auxiliary are given the opportunity to develop new interests, expand their social network and derive deep satisfaction from assisting others through compassion and active involvement in the community.
“We provide continued education grants and scholarships for aspiring young medical professionals” said Leslie Jones, Treasurer. Funds for medical equipment have also been granted to the hospital.
“We really don’t want to have to make the extremely hard decision to end the auxiliary but we really don’t see having a choice unless more people are driven to volunteer,” said Myers.
Community members interested in learning more about the benefits of volunteering at the hospital are encouraged to call Leslie Jones at 724-3442.