LIMA — St. Rita’s Medical Center is nearing its $900,000 fundraising goal thanks to a pledge by the hospital’s volunteers, who were honored at an appreciation luncheon Tuesday afternoon.
The St. Rita’s Volunteer/Auxiliary Resources group presented the hospital with a $227,000 check during the luncheon, which will help fund 3D mammography equipment and a Hybrid Operating Room. The donation was part of an ongoing effort by the volunteer group, which raises money through the hospital gift shop and thrift store, as well as various events throughout the year.
“We usually average about $300,000 a year, which is awesome,” said Jan Kennedy, president of the Volunteer/Auxiliary Resources group. “We have different departments coming to our board, and they’ll tell us, ‘This is what we need, can you help fund this?’ And then we make our selections and go from there.”
St. Rita’s President Dale Gisi said the Hybrid Operating Room brings advanced imaging and surgical procedures that were previously unavailable in the region. He said the 3D mammography equipment will help physicians “better detect breast cancer and be able to treat it more effectively.”
Gisi added that, by bringing these services to Lima, it eliminates the need to travel elsewhere for treatment.
“It changes the life for patients in a way of being able to allow people to stay in our community,” Gisi said. “We know that people heal better when they have family around them and when they are able to stay closer to home.”
The donation was made on behalf of all St. Rita’s volunteers, which includes 463 adults, 57 college students, 161 summer teen volunteers, 88 shadowing students and 207 supporting members. The contribution is the third installment of the Volunteer/Auxiliary group’s pledge of $900,000. Since 1953, the group has raised nearly $8.5 million for the medical center.
“The volunteers are an integrated part of our workforce,” Gisi said. “How they serve the organization every day has a profound impact on us carrying out our mission.”
Gisi said these individuals have contributed more than 110,000 hours of volunteer work at the hospital this year, which is the same as adding some 50 full-time employees to their staff.
“The work that they do, not just the physical work but also the emotional support they provide to our patients, it’s just immeasurable how valuable they are to us,” he said.
One of the volunteers who was honored at Tuesday’s luncheon was Mark Miller, director of the Volunteer/Auxiliary group. Miller was celebrated for 40 years of service to the hospital.
“It was a great honor but it was a complete surprise,” Miller said. “It’s been a great 40 years, and I look forward to a few more.”
Miller began his career at St. Rita’s as an orderly, then he took a job at the hospital’s materials management department. After that he worked with the volunteers, took a brief stint in patient registration, then returned to the volunteer group.
“I just love to help volunteers find what their passion is,” he said. “It’s something they’ve always wanted to try, so this way I can help them find what they’ve been looking for.”
Miller was among hundreds of volunteers who were honored at the luncheon, including 10 individuals who were added to the 2,000 Hour Honor Roll, which recognizes people with 2,000 or more volunteer hours. One of these volunteers, Rita Truesdale, was awarded the Catherine McAuley Lifetime Achievement Award in Volunteerism for contributing more than six years of experience and 2,710 hours of service to the medical center.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.