DOVER -- In 1949, a group of ambitious women came together in support of Union Hospital and formed the Union Hospital Auxiliary. Their goal was to conduct fundraising projects to help the hospital grow to meet the healthcare needs of the expanding post-war communities in Tuscarawas County. That first year the new Auxiliary raised about $1800 with a raffle and Bazaar Party. The money was used to purchase furniture for the lobby and three solariums.

Now, 64 years and hundreds of events later, the auxiliary's most recent donation of $170,000 has moved the organization past the $3.0 million mark in total donations to Union Hospital. It's an achievement that Bruce James, UH president and CEO, characterizes as remarkable.

"Our community and this hospital are indeed fortunate to have such a talented and entrepreneurial group of people working on our behalf," James said. "From humble beginnings in 1949, the UH Auxiliary has grown and launched exciting new projects. Each generation of Auxiliary members has worked tirelessly to support this hospital, raising and donating more than $3.0 million dollars for the purchase of patient care equipment."

The most recent gift to the hospital was presented at the Auxiliary's Annual Meeting on

April 30 at Union Country Club. James and Board Chairman Jay Deeds of Dover accepted the check from Auxiliary President Kasey Rippel and Treasurer Lorrie Hawk, both of New Philadelphia.

"On behalf of the Board of Trustees I wish to thank every Auxiliary member for their dedication to the organization and for serving as enthusiastic fundraisers and good-will ambassadors for Union Hospital," Deeds told the Auxiliary members. "Your commitment to Union Hospital demonstrates the concept of community ownership of this valuable asset which is so important to maintaining the quality of life here in Tuscarawas County."

This year's auxiliary donation will be used to purchase equipment in the Intensive Care Unit, Newborn Nursery, Emergency Department, Radiology Department, Cardiac Rehabilitation, the Healthplex, Biomedical Testing, and the Housekeeping Department.

Auxiliary fundraising events include the Chocolate Love A'fair, The Tea in the Garden, hanging basket sale, rummage sale, fall card party, Christmas Tree Festival, poinsettia sale, and Celebration of Lights. The auxiliary also operates the Corner Shop Gift Shop in the hospital's Main Lobby area.

The Union Hospital auxiliary is always welcoming new members.

For information, contact any auxiliary member or call Kathy Willoughby, UH manager of Volunteer Services, at 330-364-0833.