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Auxiliary: 70 years and still going strong

Asante Three Rivers celebrates its dedicated volunteers.
Auxiliary at Boatnik

For seven decades, they held fashion shows, crafts bazaars and rummage sales, they sewed “pinkie pillows” to comfort patients, curtains for the Board Room and bedspreads for patient rooms. They have served as tour guides, patient-family liaisons and blood drive volunteers.

The Asante Three Rivers Auxiliary existed before Asante was established and they continue to serve as the hospital’s heart and soul.

The auxiliary began making pillows in the 1960s, a tradition that continues today.

On Monday, Sept. 11, the hospital will honor them and their years of service. The sold-out event will feature a slide show of their years of service and a special recognition of Darlene Tuenker, who is the longest-serving volunteer (50 years). The oldest volunteer was Ray Stark, who was still busy until his passing at age 105.

Formerly called Pink Ladies, the auxiliary was established in 1953, originally to support the hospital’s nursery. It grew to serve the hospital and eventually the broader community. In the past 15 years alone, the auxiliary raised more than $550,000 to support hospital services.

Over the years their contributions have supported the Emergency Department expansion, ultraviolet area sanitizers, a bariatric bed, wheelchairs, the Spears Cancer Center upgrade, a pediatric colonoscope, infant cribs with warmers, Liko Lifts, vein viewers, bladder scanners, stereotactic biopsy equipment for the Women’s Health Center, a donation to ARRMC’s NICU, a donation for Family House construction, a medication dispensing tracker, a Stryker camera system for surgical assistance and the hospital’s Healing Garden.

ATRMC volunteers
Did you know?

The Auxiliary was started in 1953 with a $50 donation from Beta Sigma Phi sorority.

The Pink Ladies (named after the color of their uniforms at the time) worked out of what was then called the Josephine General Hospital. They moved into the new Josephine Memorial Hospital in 1965.

The first male volunteer was Ray Stark, who joined in 1991 and served until 2020 at age 103.

The volunteers have worked over 1.5 million hours.

Since 1979 they have contributed $1.4 million to hospital services and programs, including $87,500 in scholarships.

Tags: ATRMC, Auxiliary, event, recognition
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