STERLING – The CGH Auxiliary will celebrate its 75th anniversary on Thursday.
On Nov. 4, 1946, Hellen M. Lawrence met with about 25 women in her home to discuss the shortage of nurses caused by World War II. Together, they had a vision to contribute to the community and serve the Sterling Public Hospital. This marked the start of the CGH Auxiliary, according to a CGH news release.
News of the Auxiliary spread quickly, and soon sewing groups from local churches and community clubs were organized to make hospital gowns and dressings.
As the needs of the hospital grew, and the nursing shortage continued, the women realized fundraising was needed. A variety show and gift sale were held in downtown Sterling during that first year, and because of their efforts, the hospital was equipped with a toaster, two chairs, bedside lamps, baby bottle sterilizers and a modern incubator, among other items.
By 1949, the seed of volunteer service was planted not only in the minds of those in the auxiliary but also in the minds of hospital officials. Together, they installed a library for hospital patients, and cart services soon followed, supplying patients with necessities and pleasantries.
“Their initial enthusiasm and success are still evident in the more than 20,000 hours of “hands-on” service they provide to our patients, visitors, and staff,” according to the release.
The auxiliary, whose membership now includes men, women and teens, serves 25 CGH departments with activities ranging from escort and wheelchair transport to encouraging oncology patients and assisting customers in the hospital’s gift shop. In addition, with healthcare scholarships and holiday lighting as key projects, fundraising remains a priority.
“Down through the years, so many women deserve credit and thanks for making the Auxiliary what it is today,” according to a scrapbook page on the Auxiliary’s early history. “We can call them by name, we can issue tangible awards, but the most fitting tribute we can pay to them is to carry on and build on what they started.”
“The list of everything the CGH Auxiliary does for our patients, visitors, employees and physicians could go on and on,” CGH President and CEO Paul Steinke said in the release. “This is a group of truly dedicated volunteers who give their time, talent and expertise selflessly. We truly appreciate all that they do and for carrying the tradition onward.”
A celebratory event, delayed due to COVID-19, will be held at the McCormick Event Center in Rock Falls on Friday, March 4, 2022. A VIP reception for Auxiliary members and past presidents will be held, followed by a “Friends of the Auxiliary” event that will include hors d’oeuvres, desserts, musical entertainment and memorabilia.
For information, contact the CGH Auxiliary, 815-625-0400, ext. 5727, or visit www.cghmc.com/auxiliary