Oaklawn Auxiliary celebrates Ruth Albaugh's 36 years of service.

Ruth Albaugh received flowers of appreciation from Oaklawn Hospital's
Director of Development, Keith Crowell, for her 15 years of leading the hospital's Auxiliary.

Ruth has logged hundreds of hours in the Oaklawn Hospital Auxiliary
Gift Shop and information desk in her 36 years of service.

               Ruth Albaugh completes 15 years of Oaklawn Auxiliary leadership   
      Last December at the annual officer installation meeting of the Oaklawn Hospital Auxiliary, Ruth Albaugh was not sworn in as co-president.  This was the first time that has happened in over 12 years.  Having been co-president the last 12 years, as well as president from 1984-1986, Albaugh has served as leader of the Auxiliary for 15 of the 36 years that she's been a member.  
      “The hospital is really indebted to Ruth for the countless hours and steady leadership that she’s provided the Auxiliary for all these years,” said Keith Crowell, Oaklawn’s Director of Development.  “The volunteer members of the Auxiliary serve the hospital and its patients in a number of very positive ways.  We have over 140 active and supporting members and Ruth has been very instrumental in maintaining a strong membership and increasing the funds and services that the Auxiliary provides for the hospital.”   
      Joyce Darling, a friend and neighbor of Ruth's, is who first got her involved with the Auxiliary.  “I was only in my 30s when I first joined,” Albaugh said in a recent interview.  “I took a few years off when I started working at the old Sears Store in Battle Creek, but all told I've been with the Auxiliary for 36 years.”  
      Albaugh reminisced about some of the changes she's seen over the years.  “When I first started, the gift shop was little more than a cubby hole located in one corner of the surgery waiting room,” she recalled.  “Most of the shop was on a gift cart that we used to push around the hospital.  It had a candy rack on it and just a few items to sell.  Back then we only raised a few thousand dollars a year.  Now we're well over $20,000.”   
      The Auxiliary runs a few other fundraisers in addition to the gift shop.  “We do a two-day Bazaar every November that raises several thousand dollars through the sale of baked goods and sewn items that the members sell at the hospital.  Then in April we invite the public to our Bunco fundraiser, and in February we're starting a new fundraiser, selling popcorn in the hospital cafeteria two days a week.  Penny and Ed Shumway, who grow popcorn in Tekonsha, are donating 50 pounds of kernels to get us started.”  
     One of Ruth’s favorite events that the Auxiliary has developed and runs is the Annual Student Spring  Art Show, held in early May.  “When we started this in 1987 we only had about 50 submissions.  Now we get about 350 entrees from grades K through 12 and the pieces that make the show end up beautifully framed and hung throughout the hospital.  We hear a lot of nice things about the artwork from patients, visitors, and staff, and it's a great way for the kids to display their talents.”  
     Most of Ruth's Auxiliary work now, will be at the information desk or the gift shop, but even when she's not at the hospital she's still working for the cause.  “I’m recruiting all the time,” she said.  “I’ve lost track of how many members I’ve helped sign up, 'cause I'm not shy about mentioning it to people the first time I meet them.  There’s so many different things you can do and ways to help out, and it usually only takes two-to-three hours a month, unless you want to work more.  I've just found it to be a wonderful way to serve the community.  You’re either assisting someone who is a patient or is visiting a patient.  Plus you’re helping out your local hospital.  I can think of few things more rewarding or worthwhile.”  
     Anyone interested in joining Ruth and the other 140-plus Oaklawn Auxilians should call the Development Office at (269) 789-3903 or go to Oaklawn's website at www.oaklawnhospital.org. 

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