Illini Hospital Auxiliary Disbands
For 50 years, the volunteers of the Illini Hospital Auxiliary have been heroes for Genesis Medical Center-Silvis.
Over the years the Illini Hospital Auxiliary has raised more than $1.5 million for various projects benefiting the hospital and its patients.
Recently the auxiliary members voted to disband because of declining membership, particularly in leadership roles. The auxiliary was trying to reach 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of the hospital opening but members determined that they needed new volunteers and volunteers were not available.
“We’ve been trying two years to keep it together,’’ explained Cheryl Henry, a past president and vice president of the organization. “But all the people doing all the work are already in the leadership positions and we’re not seeing new people get involved.’’
The good work of the organization has included organizing sales, card parties, style shows, chili suppers, Valentine’s Day plant sales and holiday bazaars. Proceeds from all events helped pay for new equipment and other needs of the hospital.
The auxiliary has also provided knitted and crocheted caps for babies going home from the BirthCenter. Years ago babies born around Christmas or Easter went home with Christmas stockings or Easter bunny outfits they could wear.
Debbie Schroder was one of the original members.
“The auxiliary was formed the year before the hospital opened,’’ Schroder explained. “We even helped get the doors to the hospital open.
“A lot of us in that first group cleaned doors and cupboards when the hospital was being opened.
“I’ve been a member all these years but haven’t been as active in recent years. It’s kind of sad but the group hasn’t been able to get enough new people involved.’’
Declining membership in volunteer organizations is a common experience throughout the country. Membership in service organizations, faith-based and volunteer organizations has been declining for 30 years or longer.
“For 50 years the volunteers with the Illini Hospital Auxiliary have donated their time, their effort and their own financial support to make sure their community hospital had what was needed to provide the best care possible for our patients,’’ said Theresa Main, president of Genesis Medical Center-Silvis. “We will always be appreciative of everything they have done for their hospital.’’
Doug Cropper, president and CEO of Genesis Health System, said, “Genesis Medical Center, Silvis would not be the same high quality community hospital offering the latest medical technology and patient amenities without the support of the auxiliary for all of these years.
“We want to congratulate and thank every person who has volunteered their time and their talent for so many years. They have all made a difference in the lives of our patients and their families.’’
Although the auxiliary will disband, the hospital continues to need a volunteer workforce for a variety of positions. Melissa Chapman is the supervisor of volunteer services. If you are interested in volunteering your time and talent, call Melissa at (563) 421-7617.
In recognition of the Illini Hospital Auxiliary efforts and support of the Silvis hospital, there will be a reception open to staff and the public on Aug. 17 from 2-4 p.m.