May 16, 2023
Members of the Rocky Mountain House Health Centre Auxiliary recently gathered to celebrate 85 years of great work. They include, front row from left: Phyllis Loewen, Laurie LaRose, Gene LaRose, Ruth Gale and Gladys Bigelow. Second row from left: Pat Spruyt, Barbara Johnston, Velma Keeler, Carla Marks, Karen Woodley, Rosemary Brown, Darlene Helmer and Toby Jones. Back row from left: Myrna Helwig, Brenda Goodhope, Edith Stewart, Carolyn Varty, Sandra Herman, Dexter Kjorlien, Wilma Bauer, Lorna Beck, Cecily Burwash, Chan Glover and Lois Rollier.
Story by Gayleen Froese
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE — As members of the Rocky Mountain House Health Centre Auxiliary celebrate 85th anniversary, a glance in the rearview mirror shows just how much this organization has given to their community and contributed to its history.
Their story begins in 1938, when the town found itself in desperate need of a hospital. A small group of women stepped up to create the Hospital Aid Society to help bring the needed facility to their community. Once it was built, they rededicated themselves to supporting patients, families and staff.
In a local publication — The Days Before Yesterday: History of Rocky Mountain House — the Rocky Mountain House Reunion Historical Society describes the impact of these volunteers, in this excerpt:
“The Hospital Aid Society … through the years have given and are still giving splendid service and assistance in many ways to the hospital. In instances supplying items which gave comfort and service to many patients; supplying bursaries for local girls entering nurse’s training and donating hospital equipment.”
The renamed RMH Health Centre Auxiliary today holds fundraisers and operates the gift shop in the Rocky Mountain House Hospital and Care Centre. Funds go towards equipment to enhance the care and comfort of patients. The auxiliary also provides a bursary each year to a high school student who’s going into a healthcare-related, post-secondary program.
On many days, auxiliary members can be found volunteering their time at the hospital, to help people find their way, or to deliver treats to patients to brighten their days. As well, gifts and support are offered to staff.
In many ways, big and small — from monthly birthday cakes for residents at the Good Samaritan Clearwater Centre to hospital equipment costing tens of thousands of dollars — the 33 members of the auxiliary continue to be a dedicated and generous boon to their neighbours and community.
On April 14, Auxiliary members gathered with residents and local dignitaries at a celebratory tea to reflect on their remarkable history of service and support — and to look forward to their bright future as they continue to boost local healthcare through their tireless fundraising, friendly smiles and helping hands.