Geary Community Hospital Auxiliary
April 13, 1960-April 13, 2010
Our history: the beginning
On March 22, 1960, Richard Cole was the hospital administrator of the Junction City Municipal Hospital, located at Ash and Jefferson Streets where the Dreiling Arms Apartments stand today. Cole invited women from eight church groups to his home for the purpose of organizing an auxiliary for the hospital. Mrs. Bob Carr, a doctors’ wife, served as chairman pro-tem.
The eight church groups represented at this initial meeting were from the Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Christian, Catholic, Universalist, and United Church of Christ churches.
Twenty-two ladies unanimously agreed to organize the auxiliary. They decided it would need to have at least 40 members, so they were encouraged to bring interested friends to the charter meeting on April 13, 1960. The first meeting of the auxiliary was held in the dining room of the Universalist Church.
A nominating committee was appointed by Mrs. Carr, which included Mrs. Les (Martha) Hoover, Mrs. Otis Walker, Mrs. Carl Ware, and Mrs. Warren Hargreaves. Mrs. Carr also appointed a committee to draft a constitution. This committee included Mrs. Bud Coryell, Mrs. George (Marian) Grammar, and Mrs. Frank Heberlin. (Note: As was the custom in those days, ladies were not referred to, especially in writing, by their first names, but rather as Mrs.---. Over the years, some of the members’ names first names have been lost with our memories.)
Mrs. Clayton Philipi, known later as Mrs. Bill (Eunice) Kelley, was elected the first president. The accomplishments recorded at the first meeting included deciding that the duties and projects would be “caring for flowers, regulating patient visitors, providing a consultation room, visiting lonely patients, and taking care of the mail.” The minutes also reflected that a constitution was adopted and that Johnson Brothers’ Furniture donated the furniture for the consultation room.
Besides Eunice Kelley, other charter founders who were still active decades later included Dorothy Johnson, Georgia Cohen, Marian Grammar, Nadine Edie and Martha Hoover, among others.
By 1961, a book cart was donated and a memorial fund was established with $25 in it. The official “pink smock” was chosen as the uniform and remained so for the next 49 years until the color and style changed in 2010. Now that the organization is lucky enough to have male volunteers, members overwhelmingly voted to stop wearing pink.
In 1962, a sewing committee started making children’s hospital gowns. Auxilians who worked 100 hours were given awards. Dues were $1. Thankfully, the rate of inflation over the last 50 years has not affected the auxiliary dues, which have only risen to $5.
In 1963, ownership of the hospital transferred to Geary County and the name was changed to Geary Community Hospital to better reflect the mission of the hospital.
In 1967, Geary Community Hospital opened a new $2 million facility at 1102 St. Mary's Road. The auxiliary was a big part of fundraising back then. Dorothy Johnson led the auxiliary’s charge to raise money for the new Critical Care Unit by raising $33,000 in just three nights and a total of $78,000 in only two months.
The auxiliary is no stranger to the “Gold Award of Excellence” awarded annually by the Hospital Auxiliaries of Kansas to the outstanding auxiliaries in the state.
They have given thousands of dollars to the hospital and the Geary Community Healthcare Foundation. Fundraising comes easily as the auxiliary hosts book, bath, and jewelry sales several times a year. These sales, combined with dues and the gift shop profits, provide plenty of money for auxiliary projects in the hospital.
In January 2009, the new Auxiliary Gift Shop opened to rave reviews. Revenues from sales increased 700 percent in the first six months of business. The gift shop was transformed into a boutique featuring unique clothing lines, designer purses, jewelry, candles and lotions as well as a gourmet coffee bar in a café setting.
Also in January 2009, a third Auxiliary Information Desk opened in the new Surgery Center. The Surgery Center is a significant part of the $34 million, 110,000 square foot expansion project. Other information desks are located in the hospital’s main lobby and the Medical Arts I.
The auxiliary’s mission has never changed: To serve this hospital and its patients. It’s obvious that auxiliary members know the true meaning of service. We see it in their daily activities. They don’t have ulterior motives desiring either recognition or pay. They volunteer because they love this hospital and want to help others.
Today, four types of membership are available: Active, Lifetime, Associate, and Honorary.
“Lifetime members” pay $100 once. Brochures on the benefits of membership and application forms are available at the auxiliary information desks or by calling 785-210-3307.
Current lifetime members are Nadine Edie, Lilly Hebert, Eunice Kelley, Emma Manion, Lynne Addair, Margie Clowe, Carmen Darabant, Barbara Fegan, Joanne McKenna, Andrea Mace, Mary Jean Minnick, Jolana Montgomery-Matney, Joyce Olds, Gloria Salzman, Rose Rothfus, Delaine Wolf, Yolanda Bowyer and Cyndy Platt.
In April 2010, we recorded 61 active and 36 associate members. The latter includes six honorary members. Associate members are not regular working auxilians, but enjoy contributing to the auxiliary and helping when they can.
by Cyndy Platt, Auxiliary Liaison