A devotion to service

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Although most of them have spent years catering to the needs of others at the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital, the hospital Auxiliary spent Tuesday being waited on by BWWMH staff as they enjoyed lunch at Foscue House.

As part of National Volunteer Week,

“Pink Ladies,” new and old, and the group’s first two male members, Ronnie Hanley and Buddy Jones, were honored at an annual luncheon.

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“It’s been a pleasant experience so far and this is a really good thing to do,” Jones, a Demopolis native who joined in late March said. “I work in the outpatient center as a wheelchair pusher.”

“They asked me and I’m retired so it gave me something to do,” Hanley, who moved from Pennsylvania almost one year ago, said nonchalantly, “but I really do enjoy it. I’m good as long as I don’t have to wear pink.”

BWWMH’s director of public relations Chrissy Brooker welcomed the group with a slide show of pictures from past gatherings and events while giving a brief overview of all the auxiliary does for the hospital.

In the 32 years since the auxiliary was funded, the group has earned HERO status by raising 66 units of blood during one blood drive, supported the Time Out speakers, raised money from jewelry and uniform sales and Love Lights, and they have fought hard in the breast cancer battle, Brooker said.

The group has decorated the staff dining room with new furniture and accessories and they have also donated a new bed to the nursery and a new bed for larger patients.

Brenda Parr, Jeanette Lowe, and Marge Reinecke were honored for five years of service while Agnes Willingham was given her ten-year pin. Betty Baxley and Alice Boggs received a 15-year pin and Anne Davis got recognition for 20 years of service. For being there since the Auxiliary began in 1973, Edith Whitfield and Genida Johnson received a 32-year pin.

But their greatness spreads much further than Demopolis, as two members serve on the state board with Linda Burnham as historian and Sharon Farst as the district 3 chairman. And the group’s scrapbook place third in the state.

As a special surprise, Brooker made the ladies national as part of the “President’s Volunteer Service” program, which awards volunteers with a pin and letter from the president’s office, and ranks service providers with a bronze, silver, or gold status according to hours served in the last calendar year.

On the bronze level with anywhere from 100-249 hours were: Angie Hurns (102), Jeanette Lowe (105), Avis Payne (119), Nell Gibson (122), Lee Williams (122), Anne Davis (124), Carol Hasson (144), Alice Boggs (150), Grace Perolio (155), Janice Barton (155), Genida Johnson (157), Daphne Glaser (174), Dot Russell (175), Betty Baxley (189), Hilda Elmore (195), Margaret Carter (196), Rachel Lamb (198), Betty McCormick (201), Marie Taylor (205), Ruth Raines (221), Juliette McNamara (230), and Margie Reinecke (236).

Winning the silver title with 250-499 hours were: Betty McCants (252), Liz Bond (265), Biboo Webb (270), Jimmie McCollum (285), Sharon Farst (300), Sandra Harrison (326), Brenda Parr (338), Linda Burnham (391), and Mae Johnson (436).

And with more than 500 hours, Imogene Eddins was the only Auxiliary member to volunteer 1,448 hours.

Eddins and Genida Johnson also took home the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for dedicating more than 4,000 hours of their lives to BWWMH.

For her role leading the most successful Love Lights fundraiser in the Auxiliary’s history, Betty McCants was named the 2006 Volunteer of the Year.

But the day wasn’t all about the “Pink Ladies” and their male counterparts, which a BWWMH nurse has dubbed the “Pink Panthers,” as they presented four lucky area students with scholarships.

A.L. Johnson senior Deanna Dixon and UWA student Jessica Thomason received the Carolyn S. Betty McCormick scholarship, while Beth Hazelrig, a Greensboro West senior, and Hillary Moseley, a DHS senior, received the Emmet and Carolyn Clinkscales awards.

After enjoying dinner served by BWWMH employees and department heads, the Auxiliary members reassumed their positions as one of the most appreciated auxiliaries in the region.