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Aug. 9, 2023 | iCare Newsletter
by Bullseye Media

Combining Rich Histories to Continue Making a Difference

Their long-standing health care record and community service through the Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center Auxiliaries have created brand loyalty. But a budding friendship between the two organization’s presidents is also stimulating more inter-Auxiliary cooperation, strengthening Mountain Health Network.

“I think we’ve worked well together,” said Marsha Ater, president of the CHH Auxiliary. “It’s been fun getting to know each other. When we go to conferences, we sit together, go out to eat together, discuss workshops we’ve attended and what projects we’re supporting.”

“I think we can get more done as a group than we can individually,” added Ann Williamson, president of the SMMC Auxiliary. “It helps the community. (Vice President) Bradley Burck and (SMMC Director of Volunteer Services) Julie Neal have led us to think of ourselves as ‘we’ instead of ‘them.’”

One step signaling this combined approach came last year when both Auxiliaries replaced their different colored volunteer smocks with black ones. That followed the two Auxiliaries’ first combined Christmas luncheon in 2021. When they gathered again last December, the presidents invited new MHN member, Pleasant Valley Hospital, whose Auxiliary sent four officers.

“I really like what we’ve done so far,” said Williams. “We’ve been able to recruit new volunteers after COVID and most seem to be excited. We have some who work at both hospitals. If one or the other needs help with vendor sales, we can help each other. There are a lot of benefits of being together.”

Both groups make an impact that can be measured in the millions.

  • In 2016 CHH’s Auxiliary pledged $3 million over 10 years to pay off the hospital’s parking garage construction, ultimately paying it off in six and a half years.
  • Members pledged $850,000 to pay off construction loans for a new CHH gift shop. In December they gave Mountain Health Foundations a $750,000 check, leaving only $100,000.
  • The CHH Auxiliary pledged $1 million to the Neonatal Unit at Hoops Family Children’s Hospital. Among its small touches is presenting an engraved sterling silver feeding spoon to mothers of newborn in 2023.
  • The SMMC auxiliary recently made the final payment on a $450,000 3D mammography machine
  • $450,000 for 150 new transport wheelchairs$5,000 toward remodeling the Mojo Expresso coffee shop   

However, Williamson sees an even bigger benefit to the collective approach she and Ater are pursuing: “It makes us feel like we’re one big health care community instead of two individuals. Instead of people going to Cincinnati, we’ve got the big hospital here.”


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