MHMH Auxiliary Holds Annual Banquet
The Auxiliary of Memorial Health Meadows Hospital held its annual banquet on May 2 in the meeting room of the Econolodge in Vidalia.
The Auxiliary of Memorial Health Meadows Hospital was founded on November 7, 1968, and was composed of eight charter members. While the Auxiliary roster once consisted of over 100 volunteers, numbers have declined since COVID. Today the Auxiliary has 37 active members and seven honorary members. The honorary members are Flo Connell, Tina Holland, Melba and Vernon Kennedy, Johnnie Mae King, Faye Waugh, and Sue Williams. Presently, the active volunteers serve at the Front Desk, Radiology, The Gift Shop, and The Cancer Center. With the hospital status change from a nonprofit to a for-profit, the mission of the Auxiliary has somewhat changed. The Auxiliary is no longer able to donate funds to the hospital as in past times when they donated $300,000 to The Tommy and Shirley Strickland Cancer Center and $100,000 towards a new 3D Mammography Machine. Today the Auxiliary uses the funds it raises for projects benefitting the hospital employees. In addition, a greater emphasis has been placed on providing support to organizations within the community.
This past year, the Auxiliary was able to provide several “thank you” gifts to the hospital employees for their hard work and dedication. For instance, a complete meal was served to all employees on the day, evening, and weekend shifts. They also received bananas with handwritten messages, lotions, and pairs of compression socks. Most recently homemade baked goods of a wide assortment were distributed to everyone. For Nurse’s Week, nurses were given a 10% discount coupon to use in The Gift Shop. The Auxiliary also provided snacks for all patients receiving treatment at the Cancer Center. The Auxiliary continues to present the mother of each newborn in the Women’s Pavilion with a discount card to be used at The Gift Shop.
Projects within the community have been a key focus this past year. Several donations were made throughout the year: $5,000 to the United Way, $1,000 to Mercy Medical Clinic, $1,000 plus $200 in needed items to Imago Dei, and $600 to the Refuge. Refreshments were provided to the EMS workers in Toombs, Montgomery, Treutlen, and Wheeler Counties during the month of December and will be repeated this month. The Auxiliary also presents the mother of each newborn in the Women’s Pavilion with a discount card to be used at The Gift Shop.
The Gift Shop has been the primary source of income for the organization, and through the years other fund raisers have been used, most notable the annual pecan raffle in November and vendor shows. The next vendor show will be a Linen Show held under the tents on the hospital grounds. Dates for this sale are Tuesday, May 24, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Wednesday, May 25, 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Be on the lookout for opportunities to shop and find some great deals. The Auxiliary thanks the hospital employees and members of the community for their support of their fundraising efforts.
In addition, the scholarship program began in 2021 has grown this year. The Meadows Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship for Higher Education awarded one scholarship for $1,000 last year to a student from Toombs County High School pursuing a degree in nursing. This year, they were able to award a total of four scholarships. Applications were made available at all local and private schools including the surrounding counties. In addition, students enrolled at Southeastern Technical College and employees of the hospital are also encouraged to apply. Individuals pursuing a career in a medical profession at a college, university, or technical college in Georgia are eligible. Eleven applications were received this year and judged by a panel of five Auxilians: Scholarship Chairperson Marlene Wonn, Biily Snell, Jacquelyn Smith, Lisa Parker, and Beth Lewis. The worthy recipients were Cheyenne Anderson, a student at Vidalia High School, Kaitlyn Corner, a student at Southeastern Technology College, Kelly Brag, an employee at Memorial Health Meadows Hospital, and James Watts, a student from Treutlen County High School. Cheyenne will be attending Georgia Southern University this fall to obtain her nursing degree. She plans to one day work in the Emergency Room Department and later become a nurse for Air Evac. Kaitlyn Corner is currently a junior at STC in the Associates of Nursing program. She plans to go on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Kelly Bragg is the Diagnostic Imaging Supervisor at MHMH and a senior at Western Governors University. Her professional goal is to become an instructor to teach radiology. James Watts will attend Augusta University this fall and major in biology in order to pursue a Masters degree as a Physician’s Assistant.
A highlight of the evening was the revealing of the Elizabeth Wilmot Bull Memorial Scholarship recipient sponsored by the Council on Volunteer Services Georgia Health Care. The scholarship has existed since 1962 and is awarded to individuals seeking a career in a medical profession and who are enrolled at a Georgia institution of higher learning. Those interested must complete the application which includes an acceptance letter from a medically related program, transcript with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, a personal narrative by the applicant, and two letters of reference from school counselors, teachers, or job supervisors. The application must also include a letter from the Auxiliary President or Scholarship Chairperson upon an interview. The award is $1,000. This year only five scholarships were awarded throughout the entire state. Meadows Hospital Auxiliary now has their very first winner of this very competitive and prestigious scholarship: Brynna Wheeler, a student at Vidalia High School. “I am so excited about this award, both for Brynna and for our Auxiliary. Usually, the recipients are from the larger hospitals and of course, those above Macon. I believed we had a winner with Brynna this year after getting to know her through our interview process. Brynna had some stiff competition,” commented President Lisa Parker. Brynna will attend the University of Georgia this fall and major in Exercise and Sports Science. Her plans also include obtaining her degree from Mercer University to become a Physician’s Assistant.
Service Pins were also awarded at the banquet. Volunteers commit to serve 100 hours a year. Of course, many Auxilians go above the minimum. Pins are awarded for 100, 500, and 1,000 hours and per each 1,000 hours service thereafter. From May 2022 through February 28, 2022, volunteers worked 8,762.25 hours. This gift of time to the hospital amounted to $63,526.31.
Past President Wanda McCranie installed the officers for the Executive Board for 2022-2024: Treasurer Peggy Lawrence, Recording Secretary Lisa Parker, Corresponding Secretary Kay Wheeler, Parliamentarian: Billy Snell, The Gift Shop Manager Kay Wheeler, The Gift Shop Accounts Receivable Treasuer Donald Parker, and The Gift Shop Accounts Payable Treasurer Maureen Reynolds. Hospital CEO Matt Hasbrouck was on hand to help present the service pins and congratulate the elected officers. “Matt has been an avid supporter of our Auxiliary since coming to our hospital. Everything he has said he would do for us, he has done. He is our partner,” said President Lisa Parker. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Auxiliary and giving the gift of your time to a worthy organization, you may contact Assistant to the Director of Volunteer Services Judy Gibbs. She can be reached at [email protected] or by calling (912) 535-5891.