Long-time Lacombe Hospital Auxiliary members, who are now part of the new Auxiliary to the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre, include Rilla Hand, Betty Flewelling and Vera Lacey. Hand has volunteered for 50 years, Flewelling for 40 years, and Lacey for 55.

Lacombe auxiliaries join together

Auxiliary of the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre

Auxiliary members at Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre are joining forces at the health care facility.

Until recently two auxiliaries operated at the centre, one serving the hospital and one for the care centre. The auxiliary for continuing care residents dated back to 1973 when the former hospital was converted into a nursing home. When the nursing home closed, both auxiliaries operated at the hospital and care centre.

“It’s now come to the point where are numbers are going down and we needed to come together to still be here and be able to function,” said Marianne Gustafson, president of the new Auxiliary to the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre on Tuesday during an auxiliary open house.

“When you only have eight or 10 people it’s hard to do it anymore. This way we now have about 34 of us and hope to do the whole facility with one auxiliary.”

Auxiliary members have collectively contributed 235,000 hours of volunteer service and raised more than $580,000 for equipment, post-secondary medical scholarships and many patient programs and services.

“When I look around I’m just amazed at what these two auxiliaries have done throughout this whole facility,” Gustafson said.

From decorations to maternity ward beds, volunteers have raised money and made an impact. Some programs wouldn’t even exist without the help of volunteers, she said.

“We’ve donated a lot of money over the years just for programs in long-term care here to have baking classes and woodworking classes, to have a beauty salon in here. I don’t think the public realizes that these facilities would be really bare without auxiliaries and other volunteer groups donating what they do.”

Gustafson, who has been with the auxiliary for 16 years, said volunteering almost becomes a way of life for auxiliary members.

“You’re in and out of this hospital two, three, four times a week and it becomes habit.”

Volunteers have come to know residents and patients and they feel like family, she said.

People interested in volunteering for the auxiliary can contact Leanne Brusegard, co-ordinator of volunteer services, at 403-782-3336, extension 716.

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