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Palmerton Hospital Auxiliary celebrates 100th anniversary

Published June 20. 2012 05:02PM

The Palmerton Hospital Auxiliary of the Blue Mountain Health System held their annual dinner meeting on Tues., June 12 in the hospital's cafeteria. The Auxiliary celebrated its 100th anniversary of serving the hospital and the health system. "It is quite an amazing accomplishment," said Palmerton Hospital Auxiliary president, Priscilla Offen. "An organization that has this type of longevity shows just how dedicated our members are."

The highlight of the evening was the presentation by Violet Strickland, Auxiliary treasurer, of a check for $36,000 to Patrick Reilly, Blue Mountain Health System chairman of the board of directors and president of the Mauch Chunk Trust Company. Reilly and Andrew Harris, president and chief executive officer of the health system, thanked the Auxiliary for their continual dedication and hard work. Offen reported that the Auxiliary also purchased ten, flat-screen TVs and the required brackets for a total of $2,770 for the hospital. The TVs have been installed in the patient rooms of the Short Procedure Unit.

The Palmerton Hospital Auxiliary raises money through many fundraisers including the Owl's Nest Gift Shop, the Nearly New Thrift Shop, an art show in the hospital lobby, a Christmas in July raffle, an October Lottery Calendar, a nut roll sale, plant sale, Christmas bake sale, Krispy Kreme Donut sale, and the Strawberry Shortcake stand at the Palmerton Community Festival.

Two recent Palmerton Area High School graduates attended the dinner and were presented with scholarships. Danielle Eastgate received the Auxiliary's Nancy G. Mendsen Medical Career Award and will attend Misericordia University to become a physical therapist. Cody Eckhart received the Auxiliary's Dan & Mary Shook Nursing Award and will attend Lehigh Carbon Community College in the fall.

Amy Shellenberger, received the Joyce W. White In-House Nursing Award from the Auxiliary which she will use towards obtaining a BSN degree. Shellenberger is employed in the hospital's Emergency Room Registration department.

Offen introduced guests of the head table who included Reilly, Harris, Carol Heffelfinger, Auxiliary secretary, Karen Kaiser, manager of the Nearly New Shop, Violet Strickland, Auxiliary treasurer, Jenny Serfass, the Auxiliary president-elect, and the speaker for the evening, Peter Kern. Kern served as Senior Vice President of New Jersey Zinc and then as President and CEO of Palmerton Hospital. Kern spoke on the topic "Palmerton Hospital and New Jersey Zinc-A History of a Remarkable Community Partnership." He related that when the hospital first opened in 1908, the daily fee was $1 for a bed in a ward or $2 for a private room. New Jersey Zinc had been ahead of its time in providing schools, a library, a swimming pool, and a hospital for its employees. Employees were encouraged to buy a home, and education was stressed.

The new slate of officers was accepted and introduced as Jenny Serfass, President; Violet Strickland, Treasurer; Carol Simmons, Assistant Treasurer; Priscilla Offen, Secretary; Kathleen Ahner, Assistant Secretary/Corresponding Secretary. Karen Kaiser inducted the officers. New "Centennial Honorary members" were designated as Marge Geiger, Betty Hook, and Marion Whiteman.

Past Presidents of the Auxiliary who were in attendance were also recognized. They were Louise Heck, Nancy Mendsen and Joyce White. Honorary members present were Nancy Mendsen, Violet Strickland, and Joyce White.

Offen thanked the Nutritional Services Blue Mountain Health System for a delicious meal under the direction of Chef Steve Orach. She also thanked Joe Guardiani, vice president of Fund Development and Louise Zatoris, administrative assistant, for their willingness to find solutions to our many and varied problems as well as the Auxiliary's Immediate Past President, Emily Bradbury, for her optimism, her good spirit, her warmth, energy and friendship.

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