By Brenna Wiegand
Legacy Health Auxiliary was named Service Group of the Year by Silverton Area Chamber of Commerce at its First Citizen Award Gala Feb. 25.
The hospital auxiliary has been dedicated to raising funds for the Silverton Health Foundation and to serving the hospital, Legacy Silverton Medical Center, for 65 years and is still going strong.
“The auxiliary is composed of a cadre of dedicated individuals who donate their time and energy to Legacy Silverton Medical Center,” their nominator wrote. “It’s mission is to promote and advance the welfare of the medical center by serving as an advocate and ambassador for the organization, providing volunteer hours to support hospital projects, to raise funds for equipment and programs and by providing scholarships to students pursuing medical careers.
“A testament to the Auxiliary’s dedication is their members’ continuing service during the COVID-19 pandemic,” it continues. “Once they were able to return to work at the hospital and in its clinics, volunteers donned their masks and stepped up to provide comfort to the community during an uncertain time.
“While we most think of frontline workers as nurses, doctors and technicians, it’s important to remember that these people with big hearts also keep our community healthy.”
Kay Seiler, Legacy Silverton Medical Center’s Volunteer Coordinator, has been working with volunteers for 19 years.
“It was nearly two years before they were able to operate the gift shop and espresso bar again, but they are a very creative auxiliary and came up with different ways to still support the hospital and staff during that time,” Seiler said. “I think one thing that really says a lot about our program is that we’ve got some really long-term volunteers that have been with us like Beverly Ferguson who’s been an active member for over 30 years, still making the cinnamon rolls she bolstered our first responders with during the COVID outbreak.”
The Auxiliary is the hospital’s No. 1 donor, raising more than $943,000 over the years. They’ve gotten behind every project the hospital has undertaken in some way or another and made sizable donations to many efforts including the first expansions to the Family Birth Center and the Emergency Department.
The group fund-raised their way to a $148,000 donation toward the current hospital expansion project that will add 21,000 square feet to the medical center footprint.
There are currently about 60 auxiliary members. Some make financial donations in lieu of hands-on service – whatever it takes to make the hospital successful.
They’ve donated baby warmers to the Family Birth Center and purchased a CareVan vehicle for the hospital’s program that provides complimentary rides to and from medical appointments at Legacy Silverton Medical Center and its affiliated clinics. They welcome the first baby boy and girl of the New Year with handmade gifts and provide scholarships for local kids pursuing medical careers.
Auxiliary President Cheryl Lorenz joined the Auxiliary about 17 years ago.
“My first job was taking baby photos; it was great fun,” Lorenz said. “Then I moved on to working in espresso, and through all the bake sales and dinners and all kinds of other fund raisers I’ve met so many wonderful people; it’s just been fabulous.”
Lorenz currently manages the gift shop, keeping it staffed and deciding what to stock.
Auxiliary meetings often take the form of brainstorming sessions.
“One volunteer came up with a calendar that had something different for every day resulting in funds,” Lorenz said. “One day you might be asked to put aside a quarter for every pair of shoes in your closet; the next might be to give 50 cents if you’ve gone to Africa.
“When there was no contact with people during COVID we did butter braid fund-raisers and those were great sellers.”
The award came as a pleasant surprise to the hardworking men and women of the Silverton Health Auxiliary.
“It’s wonderful because we love what we do and we appreciate everything that the hospital and Legacy does for us,” Lorenz said. “We try so hard; it was just great to just see that someone noticed our efforts.”