For more than 30 years, members Gonzales’ Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital have devoted themselves to benefitting the hospital in any way they can.
Carol DuBose, secretary for the Auxiliary, reflects on the club’s service to its community, a mission that began on Feb. 13, 1975.
“Way back when we first began, the Pilot Club conceived the idea to have an auxiliary at the hospital,” she says. “I was not in it, as I was still working at the time.
“As a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization, the Auxiliary’ goal has been to benefit the hospital in any way we can,” Carol explains. “We initiated and sustain the scholarship fund for kids that are studying, and for donations as well. In the last few years, we have received donated funds from the Gonzales County Health Foundation. We have used that money exclusively for scholarships, which we give to students who study medical subjects.”
Over the years, the Auxiliary has provided scholarships for licensed vocational nurses, registered nurses and respiratory therapists, as well as pharmacy personnel and physical therapists, many of which DuBose says conduct their studies at Victoria College.
“Right now, our scholarships are $1,000 per semester,” she says. “The LVN program requires three semesters, and what we do is give the money to the university or college they choose to attend. It doesn’t go into their pocket – it’s exclusively for their studies. Our scholarship funds total $181,270 since we started in ’75.”
Additionally, the Auxiliary does its best to take care of staff, because staff takes care of everyone.
“We make donations to the maintenance people because they are so helpful to us,” DuBose says. “We aren’t able to do the things they can do, like getting way up and hanging stuff on the walls. We really appreciate their hard work.”
The Auxiliary also focuses on making sure special equipment can be obtained for whatever purpose or need calls for it.
“We find out what equipment is needed and how much the hospital has budgeted for it,” DuBose explains. “About three years ago, we gave a special kind of bed for very young children. You can’t have a small child in a regular hospital bed, so we accommodated that. We find out from the nursing staff what’s needed, and that’s how we determine what we give.”
The largest and most recent project the Auxiliary has undertaken is the development of the Jane Johnson Women’s Center, a facility that will feature digital mammography and a bone densitometer.
“The facility will be located in the hospital,” DuBose says. “You don’t have to go anywhere else.”
She gestures to a Lucite sign hanging on the wall that lists the donations made to the women’s center.
“Fletcher Johnson gave a big donation – $350,000 – and the Auxiliary provided $15,000,” she says. “And other people have donated money as well. We are hoping to have the center up and running early in 2013.”
Another interesting aspect of the Auxiliary is how “laid back” it seems. Volunteers have relatively short shifts working in the hospital gift shop, and even provide homemade lunches for those on the go.
“We have active staff members who come in and work a 3½- to 4-hour shift here in the gift shop Monday through Friday, mornings and afternoons,” DuBose says. “It so happens that on Tuesday morning, Lois Willmann and I are the only ones who still bring food. Today we brought tuna salad sandwiches and Italian cream cake.”
DuBose says the collector dolls in the gift shop have been very well received by customers, and that they love to come back and see what comes in next.
“We have singing bears,” she dotes. “People just love ’em.”
As for the Auxiliary’s future, DuBose says it will continue pressing forward.
“I think we will continue with our donations for whatever’s needed, and we will hopefully continue to succeed with our scholarships,” she says. “The sales from our vending machines sustain us, and the money from that goes to the scholarships. Things are looking good for the future.”