The caregiver’s caregiver

By Marcie Klomp

Everybody needs help at one time or another. When that help involves medical services, most of those from Howard County head to Regional Health Services. When the caregiver needs help, where can it go? To the caregiver’s caregiver . . . RHS Hospital Auxiliary!

The auxiliary has been supporting the hospital for nearly four decades, since 1974. Through the dedication of its volunteers and their countless volunteer hours, the auxiliary has fund-raised to help purchase needed items that otherwise would not be available in Cresco.

The most profitable fund-raiser is the Annual Hospital Auxiliary Quilt Auction, held during Norman Borlaug Fest in September. Since it began in 1977, it has raised over $450,000! It has helped support the purchase of items such as cardiac equipment, x-ray equipment, surgical tables, fetal heart monitors and miscellaneous equipment.

Other fund-raisers are the March omelet breakfast with proceeds going directly to a piece of equipment on the staff’s “wish list;” the LoveLight Tree, displayed November-January for memorials or honoring an individual; Annual Holiday Cookie & Candy Sale; Book and Jewelry Sales, held throughout the year; and a July Best Shot Golf Tournament.

Carol Burnikel, president of the auxiliary added, “The Auxiliary has supported the Baby Friendly Project (for nursing moms), bought a Billi blanket (for jaundice babies) for the OB, exam tables, blood pressure machines for the ambulance, Auto Pulse Machine-Led Testing Machine, and Carboxy Hemoglobin Tester, IV and blanket warmers and ice machine for Surgical.”

Extra large wheelchairs and Sim Man Scenarios are some of the things bought for the hospital in 2011 and 2012.

Burnikel proudly stated, “In 2011 the Auxiliary gave back over $33,000 in equipment to the RHSHC Hospital.”

It’s great the auxiliary is looking out for patients well-being, but sometimes it’s the little things that count, such as the baby book packets given to new parents. One family still cherishes the over-sized Christmas stocking given to them at their daughter’s Dec. 23 birth 18 years ago.

The auxiliary also gives three $750 scholarships each year to those going into the medical field.

Being ill can be overwhelming, so the auxiliary provides volunteer escorts and Pink Ladies who act as guides for those needing assistance.

Life is busy for everybody, but any volunteer will tell you how satisfying it is to help someone or some organization. The Hospital Auxiliary will not turn away any volunteer. Staying active helps a person stay well. Why not stay active by volunteering?

Jerry Lybbert is looking for more escorts to volunteer in the mornings. Burnikel commented, “Their duty would be in the Out Patient area and assist people in wheelchairs or wherever needed. We also need volunteers to serve as Pink Ladies, in both the morning and afternoon.” Anyone interested in volunteering call Jerry at 563-547-2508 or Margaret Burkett at 563-547-2898.

Currently, there are around 225 members but the more the merrier! You don’t have to volunteer or donate anything. Sometimes just showing up to meetings, showing support and giving ideas is enough. Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month at 1:30 p.m. at the Laura Rose Lobby. David Hartberg, CEO gives an update on what is happening at the hospital and there are also guest speakers.

Hartberg lauded the auxiliary for all it does. “The auxiliary provides great support for all that we do here. Not only do they provide financial support with their many fund-raisers for equipment and educational needs but they are huge ambassadors in our community for giving credit to all of our efforts.”

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