It’s been 65 years of friendships, memories, exciting fund-raisers and much more that Waupun Memorial Hospital (WMH) Auxiliary members remember and treasure best.
For it was in 1952 that 50 women of the Waupun area formally organized and accepted the mission to advance the purposes and goals of Waupun Memorial Hospital for promoting the health and well-being of area residents.
During the two years that the hospital was in planning and construction, Mother Corona, superior of the School Sisters of St. Francis, Sister Fortuna, administrator of St. Joseph Hospital in Beaver Dam, and Father Klink met with representatives from each of the community’s churches.
On October 16, three months after the hospital opening, 50 women met to form an auxiliary. That first meeting was conducted by Mrs. E.W. Hooker, who outlined the purposes of the proposed organization. And, the rest they say is history.
The WMH Auxiliary has come together in this time to raise funds to help support the purchase of equipment and other resources for various departments, as well as provide handcrafted items for patients and special recognition to associates.
Now, the WMH Auxiliary is passing on its torch to the Agnesian HealthCare Volunteers as it plans to disband, and have all interested auxilians continue their passion as volunteers at Waupun Memorial Hospital.
“We owe the Waupun Memorial Hospital Auxiliary so much,” says DeAnn Thurmer, WMH chief operating officer. “They have been such a valued partner for the duration of our history, and we have appreciated their spirit, passion and friendships. As with many hospital auxiliaries, it has grown increasingly difficult to fill key leadership roles as members continue to age and it is increasingly difficult to recruit younger members. Our hope is that many auxilians will transition into an Agnesian HealthCare volunteer working at Waupun Memorial Hospital.”
Helping others and developing lifelong friendships are two things that WMH Auxiliary members will remember most.
“I will always remember the work of the WMH Auxiliary because of what we’ve done for the hospital,” says Boots Pomplun, WMH Auxiliary president and 40-year member. “We have been able to do much with our fund-raisers to provide equipment and items for the hospital that they might not otherwise have.”
Ruth DeYoung, treasurer and 39-year member concurs. “We have been a good extension of the hospital PR for the community. People have talked to me and indicated they don’t understand something going on at the hospital and we’re able to help answer those questions. I also have had the opportunity to meet people I would not have had the chance to do so.”
“It’s the reaching out to the community that I have so enjoyed letting them know what we do and what we’re here for,” says Henri Raith, secretary and 10-year member. “This work has given me and others such a strong sense of self-worth to do something. The hospital has always shown its appreciation to us, and I am glad to do what I do for the hospital.”
For Marilyn Hopp, a 10-year member and gift shop coordinator, it’s about being part of something bigger than you. “It’s about comradery. We have become a group and family. I always look forward. Feel a part of something. It is rewarding for a person to do something for someone, and when at hospital it is a rewarding feeling to be a part of volunteering.”
Jane Teresinski, a 10-year member and scholarship coordinator, is proud of the unique offerings the WMH Auxiliary brings to area residents, especially students. “I have always thought that it was unique that 100 percent of profits from our gift shop go to scholarships. It’s a unique thing. This year we gave five $1,000 scholarships and the students are always so excited.”
With the WMH Auxiliary transition, scholarships will continue taking advantage of the many years of gift shop proceeds.
“When we do something - like our mum sale or our bake sale - we are doing that for the hospital departments where no funds are designated for new equipment or services,” according to Justine Port, past president and 10-year member. “Projects don’t have to be a lot of money. The leaders put in their requests, we review and then choose what we can support for that year. We can help many departments in the hospital, and that’s what is important.”
During its history, the WMH Auxiliary has raised money through many innovative and entertaining events and fund-raisers, like its annual LoveLights, gift shop, mum and bake sale, fall fashion shows, parade of homes, evening dinner and dance, arts & crafts fair and much more.
Funds helped to purchase items for a patient comfort cart, heart monitor defibrillator, mammography unit, lounge chairs on wheels for surgical patient family members, Lifeline services, pulmonary function test equipment, and more. And, its generosity went - at times beyond the hospital - for community needs, like a defibrillator for the City of Waupun Police department.
“We helped to fund the first blanket warmer for the hospital,” DeYoung recalls. “I remember the women asking why the hospital would need that. But, after that I remember being at the hospital and appreciating that warm blanket. At that time, it was new.”
WMH Auxiliary members are currently considering many volunteer opportunities at the hospital, including the dialysis center, emergency department, gift shop, hospitality cart, information desk, pain clinic and sewing projects.
In addition, Waupun Memorial Hospital plans to recognize and give a final public expression of appreciation to the Auxiliary for its years of service and commitment at the hospital open house in late September.
Many remembrances and friendships were recently celebrated as the Auxiliary came together for a special luncheon, which reunited former past presidents and members, as well as current Auxiliary members.
“It proved a wonderful time to get everyone together to celebrate the many great achievements we have seen in 65 years of services,” according to Pomplun. “Friends were able to spend time with each other and we were able to look back quite fondly at all the things we have achieved, as well as those who came before us who inspired us to serve.”