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Geneva General Hospital Auxiliary
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Geneva General Hospital Auxiliary

The Geneva General Hospital Auxiliary was established in 1951 from many separate groups of women who were already serving the hospital in a variety of ways.  Formed through friendship or similar interests these groups had been active, some since the 1920's, packaging hospital supplies, cutting and sewing cancer dressings, making sponges, delivering flowers and fundraising.  The various groups or guilds decided to join together to form the Auxiliary under the leadership of Mrs. Lansing Hoskins, the first president.  All members were volunteers and all were required to wear a uniform described as a "white blouse, rose-coral pinafore and quiet shoes".

Services began to grow.  Flower and library committees were formed.  In 1952, the Hospitality Shop opened starting as a cart that was wheeled from room to room and growing to a display cabinet in the lobby.  The Auxiliary decorated the father's waiting room on the maternity floor and put up a Christmas tree in the lobby.  In 1957, a messenger program was organized.  A Baby Photo Guild was added and a Nursing Home Guild.

In 1960, a check for $7,500 was presented to Mr. Robert Johnson, hospital administrator, to help with the development of a Lobby Shop, and a Lobby Shop guild was formed.  Volunteer responsibilities included decorating the shop, cleaning, stocking and providing home-made dishes to be served to visitors.  Records from 1962 list 705 auxiliary members that donated 7,024 hours.  In 1964, the popular Lobby Shop was expanded to accommodate more customers and inventory.  Renovated again in the mid-1990's as part of the Century II building campaign, it sits at the main entrance of the hospital and provides a cheerful lunch and snacks, flowers and gifts for patients, visitors and staff alike.

In May, 1961 junior volunteers, known as Candy Stripers, joined the adult volunteer forces.  From the Candy Striper brochure is the quote "With the hospital aware of the great potential in interesting young people in hospital careers we have made a special effort to familiarize the girls within our volunteer program."  Services performed included delivering food trays and water pitchers, mail, newspapers, flowers, babysitting children of visitors, reading to pediatric patients, operating elevators, working in the Lobby
Shop and organizing an adoptive grandparent program at the nursing home.

Fundraising activities have always been an important part of auxiliary service and continue to the present.  Big band dances and gala balls, cookbooks, antique and art auctions, fashion shows, wine tasting, holiday bazaars, plant sales, rummage and bake sales, steer and pig roasts, country fairs, raffles, ice cream festivals, concerts, and community follies.  Large and small, successful fund raising allowed hard working volunteers to take pride in providing the hospital with the extras that make our hospital a better place for patients and staff.  Funds were used for baby warmers and television sets for the emergency room, Lifeline units, dialysis machines, support for the Finger Lakes Health College of Nursing, our award-winning child care center and state of the art mammography equipment, gift certificates for Nurses' Week and New Vision Medical Career Program scholarships, "Pinkie Puppets", newspaper subscriptions for our patients and the development of the Mobile Meal program, still in action today.

The Geneva General Hospital auxiliary is a living organization, constantly moving forward into new areas of need.  The bylaws of the Auxiliary state that "The purpose of this organization shall be to support and to advance the Mission, Vision and Values of Geneva General Hospital and its patients."  Service is an integral part of its being and most recently the Auxiliary has looked to the Living Centers in Geneva to explore the possibility of assisting those facilities.  The need for volunteers and auxiliary members is ongoing.  The specifics change but the need is always there.  Patients stay in the hospital for a shorter period of time, we compete with after school activities for junior volunteers, more women work outside the home leaving less time for volunteer service.  In 1972 an amendment was passed changing the bylaws, deleting the word "women" so that we could welcome men into the membership.

Your membership alone helps the auxiliary reach its goals.  Active membership is welcomed and helps the auxiliary to grow and become an effective force for health care in the community.  The auxiliary board meets the second Tuesday of the month from 1:30-3:00 p.m.  To learn more about how you can make a difference, call the Community Outreach Coordinator at Geneva General Hospital, 315-787-4065.

2008 Geneva General Hospital Auxiliary Board

Molly Mahoney-Thurston, President
Catherine Barnard, Past President
Marie Bruno, 1st Vice President
Bunny Bell, 2nd Vice President
Beverly Simons, Secretary
Midge Zuccala, Assistant Secretary
Christine LaRocca, Treasurer
Lou Tarr, Lobby Shop Treasurer
Joan Manning, Assistant Lobby Shop Treasurer
Julie Krebbs, Living Centers at Geneva Representative
Joyce Archer, Member at Large
Elsie Trochesset, Member at Large

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