WMC Auxiliary presents $75,000 check

AUXILIARY GENEROSITY — The Weirton Medical Center Auxiliary’s annual awards dinner held July 17 at the hospital involved a major check presentation to the hospital along with the recognition of a few volunteers for their years of service to the unit. The auxiliary presented a check for $75,000 to the hospital, funds that will be used to refurbish the cafeteria. On hand for the check presentation were, from left, David Artman, WMC chief operating officer; Sondra Weigel, auxiliary president; WMC Chief Executive Officer John Frankovitch; and Gene Trout, chief financial officer. -- Janice Kiaski

WEIRTON — Despite its membership decline through the years, the small-but-mighty Weirton Medical Center Auxiliary made a major contribution to the hospital from its annual proceeds, providing a $75,000 donation to WMC that will be used to refurbish the hospital cafeteria.

The presentation came during the auxiliary’s annual awards banquet held July 17 at the hospital, with auxiliary President Sondra Weigel handing the check to a grateful WMC Chief Executive Officer John Frankovitch.

Before that, she welcomed those attending the dinner. “Our group is growing smaller and smaller and smaller. I do believe we now have 22,” she said.

Even so, the auxiliary perseveres, marking a “very successful and gainful year,” according to the 2018-19 report given by Elda Weekley, recording secretary.

“Our fundraiser includes three $5 Masquerade jewelry sales, two Robert’s uniform and shoe sales and two Books are Fun sales,” Weekley told the group. “This has been accomplished by our dedicated volunteers. Thank you to the hospital leadership and staff for your support of the auxiliary’s activities.”

Weekley noted the auxiliary is “very proud to report, at a cost of $45,000, we have completely updated our volunteer gift shop. Our project this year was breast cancer awareness. The Weirton Medical Center Auxiliary is covering the cost of a special treatment for breast cancer patients in need,” she said.

Weekley acknowledged the deaths of two volunteers — Louise Herman, who became a volunteer May 31, 1994, and served as secretary and most recently volunteering on level four desk, and Pride Grimm, who joined April 7, 2009, and had been working in the gift shop.

On behalf of the auxiliary, Weekley thanked WMC for the Christmas dinner, recognition given during National Volunteer Week and for the July awards banquet.

She said the auxiliary “strives to act as goodwill ambassadors for our community hospital and are proud to be a part of the Weirton Medical Center family. We are fewer now, but we still give from the heart.”

Auxiliary officers, aside from Sondra Weigel and Weekley, are Vivian Weigel, assistant treasurer, and Domenica “Minnie” Malloy, corresponding secretary.

The dinner also included the auxiliary president presenting certificates to Joan York for 15 years of service and to Vivian Weigel for 10 years. Kalpana “Kal” Gupta is to receive a five-year certificate.

In accepting the auxiliary’s donation, Frankovitch recalled when there would have been as many as 120 people at the dinner, but noted its smaller, more intimate setting is something to be anticipated and affords an opportunity to become better acquainted.

“I think we all look forward to this. We get to know you a lot more. We get to talk about your families and talk about what’s important,” Frankovitch said.

“It’s become such a crazy industry with what we do, we spend so much time dealing with people who are so difficult, it just reminds me when I come down here of why I got into this industry — because of you all. You typify everything that’s right about health care service. You give selflessly of yourself,” Frankovitch said. “I am doing the math in my head. There’s 22 people. That’s $75,000 that’s $3,400 a person. Think about that — $3,400. Where can you have that kind of impact anywhere else? What you do in your footprint here and what you leave on this institution will never be the same,” he said.

David Artman, chief operating officer, also expressed appreciation, praising the auxiliary for the effort it put, for example, into its annual book sales and uniform sales, “to raise this kind of money.” Thanks to auxiliary donations of the past, “you have renovated the coffee shop and because of you, all that beautiful furniture and flooring in the atrium, that’s because of you. We just can’t say thank you enough.”

Gene Trout, chief financial officer, also attended the dinner.

Kelli McCoy, WMC director of communications, also thanked the auxiliary for all its contribution.

“So much that has happened here we can say that’s auxiliary,” McCoy said. “Before too long, there’s going to be pretty much every section with a little thank you to the auxiliary. There aren’t many auxiliaries like this in the country,” she said, describing them as an inspiration.

McCoy also applauded Sondra Weigel as “the Energizer bunny who puts in so many hours, and it’s not a job for her — it’s just what she does.”

“I will keep doing it as long as I can get around,” she responded. “I’m not giving this up — I’m going out with a fight.”

During a time of comments, Frankovitch thanked workers Martha McCloud and Bridget Rudder for “a tremendous meal.”

Roberta Ziemer, gift shop manager, noted, “You all work so hard, and we are so appreciative. Thank you so much for the work you do in the gift shop and throughout the hospital. We cannot thank you enough for all you do.” Cindy Ferrari, assistant manager of the gift shop, also expressed appreciation for what they do and for their assistance to her in her position.

The auxiliary was founded in 1953 and had more than 140 members and 19 Twig groups. There are two remaining.

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