Residents make mark on hospital staff |

Residents make mark on hospital staff

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital opened in 1958. We are fortunate to have such a professional crew of doctors, administrators and support staff. Equally valuable is the dedicated team of volunteers known as the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.

With almost 200 active and associate volunteers – a third are from Lake Wildwood – patients get quality care along with the little extras that make their stay more comfortable. I spoke with Rose Koolhof, current auxiliary president, who helped me to understand how broad the volunteer efforts are including hospital and patient support and in-hospital fund-raising.

The auxiliary is a huge service to the community. To make it all run smoothly, Rose has chairpersons to coordinate volunteer activities for various areas of hospital support including Outpatient Surgery, Cancer Center, Emergency Room, Outpatient Lobby, Gift Shop, Patient Floor Support, Membership, Student Auxiliary, Miscellaneous Services, and Main Lobby.

Six of the 10 chairpersons are LWW residents, including Nancy Thompson helping with the Emergency Room, Marilyn Heald is floor chairman making sure volunteers help patients get newspapers, juice and snacks, Sandra Kouba oversees membership, Nancy Kimbrough oversees more than 30 student volunteers who each work about three hours each week, and Catherine Dunlap oversees Miscellaneous Services, which includes telephone services, ordering uniforms for volunteers, and crafts for patients. Marge Hayes makes sure that the Main Lobby runs smoothly.

Just as an aside, the volunteers are the only ones in the hospital who wear uniforms. They buy their own uniforms and are currently in the process of switching from pink tunics (remember “pink ladies?”) to teal tunics over white slacks and shoes. It is easy to spot them in the hospital, so please go out of your way to thank these volunteers whenever you see them.

If you’re interested, there are lots of ways to help and the auxiliary is always looking for new members. In addition to hospital and patient support services, the auxiliary promotes in-hospital fund-raisers. One notable fund-raiser is the Scrub Sale where vendors offer scrub “fashions” for the nurses and the auxiliary keeps a percentage of the profits for organizing everything. They also sponsor bake sales, book sales, jewelry sales and leather sales. And the benefits roll in. Last year, the auxiliary raised over $44,000 from the fund-raisers and the gift shop (They carry See’s candy all year long!). This money was donated to the hospital to buy a bone density machine.

Many of the active volunteers stay on for years. However, if a volunteer’s situation changes and they can’t make a weekly commitment to helping on the hospital floor, they can move from being an active volunteer to an associate volunteer. This entitles them to stay with the auxiliary, attend the quarterly luncheons, and still help out with the fund-raisers and patient tray favors as their time permits. Many volunteers choose to do this.

It says something positive about the group and its leaders when many of the past presidents stay actively involved after the incredible time commitment required as president. Past presidents from LWW who are still actively involved include Muriel Stahl (1995), Ardanne Duffin (1998), Eileen Fisher (2002) and Iris Bradshaw (2003).

In addition to the auxiliary that handles in-hospital fund-raisers, there is also the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation that sponsors community fund-raisers. I will write about the foundation at another time, but I wanted to let you know about a fabulous event coming up on July 17, 2004. Bobbie and Tom Tomasello of LWW and Gloria and Lance Amaral of Nevada City are co-chairs for the 12th Annual Starry Starry Nights. Guests will enjoy stargazing through Newtonian Reflectors, a spectacular sit-down dinner, decadent dessert, and dancing.

This one-of-a-kind event transforms the beautiful Empire Mine State Park into a dazzling wonderland of white lights and white attire. Dinner tickets are $100 each, and advance reservations are required. You can call the hospital foundation at 477-9700. If you do attend, you will see auxiliary volunteers at the registration table.


Got a tip about someone in LWW? Contact Shirl Mendonca at 432-3787 or at

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