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Barton Auxiliary to celebrate 50 years on Monday

Joan Young
Special to the Tribune

Fifty years ago an enthusiastic group of ladies formed an auxiliary to raise funds for badly needed health care at South Lake Tahoe. They financed doctors’ paychecks and dreamed of building a new health care facility. It took many hands with glamorous and not-so-alluring activities to raise the funds; then, with the donation of land from sisters Faye Ledbetter and Alva Barton, a hospital was soon a reality. It had only 20 beds, but it was a start.

Looking back through the 1970s, 80s, 90s and now into the present decade, the auxiliary has never faltered. The names in the member roster have changed; people have come and gone, but there remain people who were active back then and are supporters of the hospital still. This includes Dan Kerr, enjoying his sixth term as auxiliary president, whose mother Harriet was president in 1968 and 1969. Judy Cefalu is parliamentarian and bylaws chairman, one of the founders, Patty Olsen, caters food for the Holiday Faire; Vee Gay, past president, is now junior volunteer chair and president-elect of the Sacramento Valley Auxiliary Council; Joy Ragland, former president, lives in Oroville, Calif.

From the beginning to the present, the auxiliary will have donated more than $6 million to Barton Health. Last December, auxiliary earnings were presented to Barton Hospital Community Clinic, soon to be expanded into a larger, modern facility. Funds have been raised through the hospital’s lobby Gift Shop and The Attic Thrift Shop on Lodi Avenue. Hand-made “Famous Cheese Balls” have been sold at all the recent annual Holiday Faires each November (at which volunteers sell specially chosen gently used donations from the community). The biannual sale by “Books Are Fun” and the recent “Gold Refinery” add to the fundraising efforts.

When they aren’t earning money to support the hospital, volunteers work weekly assisting at the front desk, the community clinic, emergency room and Skilled Nursing Facility. Junior (high school age) Volunteers contribute their youthful brand of caring in the SNF. Additional year-round activities include the Sacramento Blood Source, flu and immunization clinics, wellness lab draws and blood pressure checks. More than 70 active volunteers give their time and energy to Barton Health, logging more than 26,000 hours of service, thus saving the hospital nearly $600,000 in wages.

These members and friends will celebrate the past 50 years of the auxiliary’s existence at a luncheon held at Harvey’s on Monday, Sept. 13. At this fun gathering we will recall the historic past, celebrate the energy of the present and welcome a vibrant future of South Lake Tahoe community’s hospital auxiliary. For reservations call Margaret at 530-544-8392 or at The Attic, 530-541-3378.

– Joan Young is the publicity chair for the Barton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.


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