New River Medical Center Auxiliary has history of service

New River Medical Center’s Auxiliary has a long history of giving back to the community.
For more than 45 years, Auxiliary members have volunteered their time to help provide a positive experience for patients, residents and visitors at New River Medical Center.

New River Medical Center Auxiliary members pictured are: Front: Joan Brandon, Jan Bothun, Doris Dirnberger, Barb LaBau. Middle: Pat Riebel, Verna Murphy, Diane Bollig, Lorraine Wolff, Marilyn Stickfort, Donnie Schueller. Back:  Sherie Danner, Marlene Stumpf-Johnson, Lois Bauer, Alice Kantor, Linda Larson.(Submitted Photo Courtesy Cindy Maki)

New River Medical Center Auxiliary members pictured are: Front: Joan Brandon, Jan Bothun, Doris Dirnberger, Barb LaBau. Middle: Pat Riebel, Verna Murphy, Diane Bollig, Lorraine Wolff, Marilyn Stickfort, Donnie Schueller. Back: Sherie Danner, Marlene Stumpf-Johnson, Lois Bauer, Alice Kantor, Linda Larson. (Submitted Photo Courtesy Cindy Maki)

The Auxiliary’s mission is enhancing the quality of life of patients, residents, and personnel; and to provide assistance, cooperation and encouragement toward the achievement of goals and objectives of the New River Hospital Board of Directors in promoting community health and welfare.
New Auxiliary President Wendy Lais wants to increase active participation throughout the organization during her two-year term in office.
“We have a fairly large membership, about 100 volunteers,” Lais said. “One of the things that I would like to see happen with our members this year is while we have a lot of members, there’s a small percentage who are actually active. I’d like to engage those who would like to become active again and expand on that.”
Lais and other Auxiliary members are getting ready for the organization’s spring fund-raiser, a fashion style show that’s scheduled for Saturday, April 27.
“It’s going to be held at River City Extreme in Monticello, and Chico’s of Maple Grove will provide the clothing,” Lais said. “We will be providing the models.”
Tickets for the event aren’t on sale yet, Lais said. An availability date will be determined after the Auxiliary board of directors completes its next meeting.
“We are looking for area businesses to donate prizes for this event,” she added. “That’s all part of what we do with our fund-raising, in one way or another.”
Lais has been an Auxiliary member for three years. She wanted to become volunteer. After hearing about the Auxiliary, she attended a meeting and decided she wanted to get involved. Lais works four hours a week as a volunteer. “Generally, that’s what I try to do a week,” she said. “Sometimes, it doesn’t turn out to be that many hours, but most of the time, we can volunteer for as many hours a week or month as we want. I try to do about four hours a week. My spot to volunteer is the Fireside Information Desk at the emergency room.” Lais said her primary task is helping to direct people when they initial arrive at New River.
“I always try to be a friendly face to those people who are coming in with less than ideal situations, or those who are stressed out because they are coming into the ER. We are the first line of information when they walk in. We try to answer their questions, give them a little assurance and get them where they need to be.”
Lais said she’s part of a team, and another key task for her and other Auxiliary members is taking a little pressure off of the New River Medical Center staff.
“The thing that gives me real joy is helping others, and making the time they spend here easier,” she said. “I want to help people. That’s why I am here.”
Sherie Danner has been a New River Medical Center Auxiliary member since 1997. Danner became a volunteer after leaving her teaching job of 28 years.
Danner said the Auxiliary’s periodic jewelry sales are one example of a consistently successful annual fund-raiser. The most recent sale was conducted Feb. 5.
“The New River Medical Center staff are notified in advance when Dee Purton, our jewelry salesperson, will be coming in with her newest pieces,” Danner said.
Danner is one of two paid managers in the New River Medical Center gift shop. Her duties include setting the calendar so all the shift hours are covered by volunteers, completing the weekly sales report and financials and filling in when volunteers are not available to complete their hours. “Linda Larson, my co-manager, does most of the displays and we both shop for the merchandise in the gift shop,” Danner said. “Many times patients and visitors come into the hospital and we are the first people they see so they come into the shop with their questions. Patients come down from their rooms and make purchases.”
Danner said the New River Medical Center Auxiliary is a great organization.
“It is rewarding to give back to the hospital district,” she said. “We have done many fund-raisers and have a long list of items that we’ve been able to purchase to enhance the lives of the patients and staff.”
A partial listing of Auxiliary donations to New River Medical Center dating back to 1965 includes a variety of items. A Library Cart valued at $279 was the first item donated, and throughout the years, the Auxiliary’s fund-raising efforts have paid for several vehicles; a van in 1974 valued at $6,480 and in 1988 a second van with a lift valued at $13,606. Two nursing home vans valued at $7,000 each were purchased in 2006 and 2007.
Other Auxiliary donations have included resident room furniture, tables and chairs, draperies, wheelchairs, a birthing bed, medical monitor, a hospice suite, seed and expansion money for the gift shop as well as numerous local scholarships.
If you are interested in becoming a New River Medical Center’s Auxiliary member, contact Cindy Maki at 763-271-2271 or cindy.maki@newrivermedical.com.

Contact Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at tim.hennagir@ecm-inc.com

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