STEUBENVILLE - With a stroke of the gavel Thursday evening at the Steubenville Country Club, the Trinity Health System Auxiliary officially came to an end after a long-standing history of support for health care in the community.
Diane Macedonia, president, presided at the auxiliary's holiday dinner meeting, an evening that included the presentation of a check for $180,000 to Fred Brower, Trinity Health System president and chief executive officer. The money will go toward continued improvements at the YMCA Wellness Center in the former St. John Arena.
Brower expressed appreciation for the donation and for the auxiliary.
ONE LAST CHECK — Diane Macedonia, president of the Trinity Health System Auxiliary, presented a check for $180,000 on its behalf to Fred Brower, president and chief executive officer of Trinity Health System, as the now-disbanded auxiliary met for the final time Thursday evening at the Steubenville Country Club. The money will be used for continued remodeling at the YMCA Wellness Center in the former St. John Arena. - Janice R. Kiaski
"I've been trying to get a YMCA type facility in this community for years, and as a result of support from the entire community, we've had a successful project," Brower said. "Many of you have been to the old St. John Arena and seen what we've accomplished. If you haven't, we invite you to visit. I think you'll be surprised at the appearance, programs and services. What we eventually hope to do is turn that into a comprehensive communitywide wellness initiative through which we can begin to deal with some of the problems that exist in our community with respect to wellness and taking better care of yourself. That's where health care is headed in the future. We wouldn't have been able to accomplish what we have without the support of the auxiliary and the rest of the community, so thank you for everything you've done," Brower said.
The THS Auxiliary has been in existence for 13 years, a product of the merger of the old Ohio Valley Hospital and St. John Medical Center with their twigs and guilds under its umbrella. Their history of helping, however, dates back much farther.
The Woman's Advisory Board of Ohio Valley Hospital, for example, organized in 1922 and had at one time 16 Twig units under it.
The meeting noted an end as well as to two of the three remaining Twigs - the Cypress Twig and the Daisy Twig.
The Heather Twig will continue under the same name and remain active, according to co-chair Elena Crisante. It will stay connected to the Trinity Foundation, the hospital system's fundraising arm. Crisante said the Heather Twig will host a beer and wine-tasting fundraiser at the Steubenville Country Club on March 1, with the proceeds specifically benefiting a new breast cancer diagnostic machine the hospital will have in place come January.
"The auxiliary has a long tradition at both of the originating hospitals. This (the THS auxiliary) was formed from the affiliation of the old Ohio Valley and St. John Medical Center, and we put the two auxiliaries together, and they've been functioning that way since. The benefit for us was they did some fundraising obviously so they generated a lot of worthwhile projects for the hospital, but the better part, the part that we're going to miss the most is that they were great ambassadors in the community for the hospital and that's the sad part of it," Brower had said prior to the meeting.
During the auxiliary's brief business meeting that followed dinner, Macedonia reviewed some of the auxiliary's contributions in the past 13 years.
It gave $1 million to the Tony Teramana Cancer Center; purchased a mobile health van for $200,000; gave $50,000 to the Women's Health Center at Trinity Medical Center West; purchased a Wii system for the ninth floor extended care unit; gave $2,000 to the Trinity Medical Center East Chapel for its stained glass windows; purchased equipment for the Trinity School of Nursing, including a $2,800 mannequin; funded $5,800 in equipment for Trinity Home Health; remodeled the linear accelerator room at the cancer center to the tune of $68,000; gave $13,000 for a ceiling lift system at Trinity East's rehab unit; and donated $4,200 for micro fiber carts for housekeeping.
In 2011, it donated $200,000 to the YMCA Wellness Center.
The Thursday meeting also was occasion for a $5,300 check to be presented to the auxiliary by the Daisy Twig, represented by Noreen Peterson
The Heather Twig presented a $9,000 donation to the Trinity Foundation in recent months.
That the auxiliary is disbanding is a sign of the times, specifically the changing role of women through the years to have more presence in the work force, but less time to volunteer, according to Macedonia. With less members and recruits, the auxiliary faced only one option - dissolution, which was decided at its September meeting.
"It's coming to a close because we are no longer working like we did before. We were much more involved," Macedonia said before the meeting began.
Its membership in earlier days constituted stay-at-home mothers. "Now most of our members, most of our younger members, are working, so that has totally changed the complexion of the auxiliary as it exists today," said Macedonia, whose fellow auxiliary officers included Eleanor Weiss, vice president; Barbara Kowalsky, secretary; Dolores Pirraglia, treasurer; and Judy Brancazio, corresponding secretary.
Macedonia said in-house fundraising projects will continue despite the auxiliary's demise with a $6,000 annual scholarship to continue to be awarded to a Trinity School of Nursing student.
Keith Murdock, director of the THS Foundation, called the evening bittersweet.
"I started in health care in Steubenville 35 years ago, and some of the first people that I met were on the women's auxiliary board at Trinity East - Ohio Valley at the time - but if you think back in the late 1800s, a group of women got together to build the first hospital in this town. They opened Gill Memorial and then in 1912, a group of women got together and raised $200,000 in eight days to build the Ohio Valley Hospital," Murdock said.
"The people that came before all of us, the people that cared about health care in Steubenville, they live with each and everyone of us today, and we will continue to represent not only this group, but the women of Steubenville in providing the very best care that we possibly can to everyone who comes through our doors. I can't thank each and every one of you enough for the years of service and the efforts you put forward to promote Trinity Health System as the leading health care provider in this region," Murdock said.
Macedonia emphasized that although the auxiliary ceases to exist, the volunteer program is alive and well.
"Several people were concerned that without the auxiliary there would not be a volunteer program, and this is not so. The volunteer program is a separate unit that carries on at the hospital, so we are always delighted to have volunteers," she said.
Macedonia thanked the members for their help and support.