By Andriena Baldwin / Demopolis Times writer

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 13, 2006

The gift shop, the front desk, the outpatient center, and the afternoon snack. They are responsible for it all.

They are the Pink Ladies and they are one of the auxiliaries that set Demopolis’ Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital.

However, since being known as the Pink Lady for more than a decade, two men have joined the group, and they can no longer be known as the Pink Ladies.

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This group is now simply known as the hospital auxiliary.

“They are as much a part of this facility as any of our employees and I can’t imagine them not being here because they are so important. They give so much of their time, talent and services,” BWWMH director of public relations Chrissy Brooker said. “They’ve given so many volunteer hours. In the 2004-05 year they’ve volunteered more than 8,950.5 hours.”

Although they almost reached 9,000 hours, the number is miniscule when put next to the 69,956 hours since the auxiliary’s creation in the 1970s.

Also since being established at Bryan Whitfield, the auxiliary has branched out into more than just making the patients feel better about their stay.

“With the continued growth of the hospital, we see their duties within the hospital grow as well,” Brooker said. “They help with patient transportation, they work in the gift shop, and they work at the front gift helping to direct people. Honestly, I don’t know if they know what the word no means.”

In the past year, the auxiliary has held fundraisers to purchase everything from Safe Sitter t-shirts, car seats for new mothers, hospital beds, mobile IV bag holders and baby cribs to furniture and accessories to add to the dining room – which they refurbished – new sleeper chairs for hospital guests, wheelchairs, elliptical machines for the wellness center and newborn t-shirts which say “I got my first hug at Bryan Whitfield.”

“They are an integral part of the operation here at Bryan Whitfield. Not just from the standpoint of them being workers here, but they help us keep the equipment updated and give us financial support,” BWWMH director Mike Marshall said. “They are a crucial part of us turning around the public perception of the hospital. I am just tickled pink and happy they are here.”

For those who believe the auxiliary is strictly for retirees, Brooker said the hospital will soon begin the Volunteen meetings to get area teenagers involved in the hospital volunteer program.