Johnson Auxiliary Celebrates 40 Years of Service

The John K. and Katherine Johnson Auxiliary is celebrating its 40th Anniversary of serving Regional Medical Center this year. The Johnson Auxiliary Annual Meeting and Luncheon held in April was filled with reflections on the past 40 years of service by the Auxiliary and a look at their committed service in the future.

In the early days of the Auxiliary, volunteers could be seen throughout the hospital wearing aqua jackets. Those who wore the volunteer uniform were seen as a source of love, hope, trust, and God’s presence to all who entered the hospital. While the styles and colors changed through the years, along with the people who wear the uniform, one thing that hasn’t changed is the compassion and dedication the uniform represents to those who wear it.

This year’s luncheon was dedicated to Myra Thomas, a long time Auxiliary volunteer and MED Foundation Board Member, who passed away in September 2012. Pat Gesell, Auxiliary Treasurer, and Tammie Ritchey, Executive Director of The MED Foundation, gave a touching tribute regarding her service. Auxiliary Founders Bonnie Blair, Carolyn Hamlet, and Do Kaiser along with Ginger Elting, an early Auxiliary President, shared highlights of the start of the Auxiliary in 1973 and the social service programs implemented by the Auxiliary including a Health Education Program that included patient education on a variety of subjects and blood pressure screenings; a Clothes Closet to assist patients and their family members; a Food Cart for patients waiting to be seen in the clinics; and the establishment of a Prayer Room/Chapel.   

In 1983, the Auxiliary took on a new project as an additional service opportunity to be provided to the hospital and its patients and opened a Gift Shop. Profits from the Gift Shop are donated to the hospital through The MED Foundation to support the purchases of medical equipment and educational and other initiatives of the hospital. Including this year’s gift, the Auxiliary has donated $462,391.50 to the hospital from Gift Shop profits. 

In the past year, the Auxiliary has provided valuable time and financial support to Regional Medical Center. During calendar year 2012, the Auxiliary contributed more 6,400 service hours to the hospital. They also donated more than $15,000 to The MED Foundation from Gift Shop profits and authorized spending just over $25,000 toward the renovation of the hospital’s critical care waiting room and addition of a meditation room.

Dr. Reginald Coopwood, President and CEO of Regional Medical Center, posed with Auxiliary founders and early leaders at their annual meeting in April.
Pictured left to right: Do Kaiser, Virginia “Ginger” Elting, Dr. Reginald Coopwood, Bonnie Blair and Carolyn Hamlet.