Serving the Huntington Living Center
In September of 1958, 84 women gathered to establish an auxiliary for the new Taylor-Brown Hospital in Waterloo. The members formed seven chapters, and the purpose of the Auxiliary at that time was to act as guides in the hospital and perform errands for the patients. Dues were $2 a year. In the 50 years that have passed since then, members of the Taylor-Brown Auxiliary still meet as guides and, as volunteers, act as guides to visitors and perform acts of kindness for the residents of the now Huntington Living Center.
In response to patient and visitor needs and requests, however, the Auxiliary soon expanded their services to include the opening and manning of a gift shop and flower stand; delivering and caring for patients' flowers and plants; renting televisions; circulating a cart, full of snacks, magazines, personal care items and small gifts, to patient rooms; as well as reading and writing letters for patients. Mrs. Lela Robb, Hospital Administrator at that time said, "Without the Auxiliary, we would be lost and so would the patients." Other activities taken up by the Auxiliary were making stuffed toys for all children admitted and knitting hats for all new born babies. Within the year, mail and newspaper deliveries were added to the vol- unteer job list and 5,480 volunteer hours were logged. Profits from the gift shop, flower stand and gift cart were given to the hospital to be used for new equipment to benefit the patients. Soon more fund raising projects were started. One of the first was taking pictures of new born babies. Next, a spring dance was held that became an annual event at the Seneca Falls Country Club. Fashion shows were produced, using volunteers as models. Bake sales, stage shows and cartoon shows for the children all helped to raise funds. Soon, a newsletter, "Chit Chat", was printed to keep volunteers up to date and advertise upcoming events.
By 1963, another chapter was organized and the Candy-Stripers were started. Candy-Stripers were high school girls who went through training and were "capped" at a successful completion. This year also saw the start of the holiday tray favors. Each of the chapters were assigned holidays and to this day, the Taylor-Brown Auxiliary makes tray favors for twelve holidays for the residents of the Huntington Living Center. In 1963, over 7,000 hours were given by volunteers and the Candy-Striper program added another 3,500. A tradition of service to Taylor-Brown Hospital and later the Huntington Living Center was well established. Over the years, new events were tried. A Fall Festival was held on the hospital grounds with many booths, live entertainment, square dancing, a barbecue, rides and a "Ye Olde Country Store," selling hand made items and food. In 1966, an auction was held in the Waterloo Senior high School with all items from antiques to a kitchen sink donated by Waterloo residents. Leon Wickham donated his auctioneering services. In 1968 an antique show was held at the Seneca County Fair Grounds that was so popular it was continued for ten years.
In 1969, a ground breaking was held for the addition of a long term care wing at the Hospital. More volunteers were recruited and new fund raising ideas were tried. The "Festival of Stars" program was initiated. Auxiliary members, staff and the community were invited to place a star on the Christmas tree in memory of or in honor of a loved one. That first year there were 175 stars. Today, "Festival of Stars" invitations are still mailed to friends of the Huntington Living Center.
In 1989, the Auxiliary sponsored a Senior Safe Driving Course and published a popular cookbook containing recipes from 350 Seneca County residents. Soon after, ground was broken for the new Taylor-Brown Nursing Home. The nursing home opened in 1990 with a capacity of 120 residents. The gift shop in the hospital was closed a new one was opened in the nursing home.
On Memorial Day, 1991, a strawberry festival was held by auxiliary members in conjunction with the village's Memorial Day commemoration. Proceeds went to help furnish the new chapel at the Taylor-Brown Nursing Home. It was also the first fund raiser for the new Chapter 7. Through the years, many of the original chapters had disbanded or reorganized. Chapter 7 was the first new chapter in many years.
In 1992, the Taylor-Brown Hospital was closed. The auxiliary considered disbanding, thinking that its services were no longer needed. However, Anna Goss, Administrator of the Taylor-Brown Nursing Home, was convinced the nursing home would remain a very busy health facility and very much in need of the Auxiliary's services. In response, the Auxiliary added afternoon hours to the gift shop and front desk and volunteers were busier than ever. Now, the Taylor-Brown Auxiliary is one of the few auxiliaries dedicated strictly to a nursing home. Renamed the Huntington Nursing Home in honor of Emily Huntington, the Auxiliary continues its tradition of service to the residents and staff.
In 1995, the Auxiliary donated over $10,000 for a gazebo and garden in the courtyard at Huntington. Raised gardens for wheelchair-bound residents enabled them to participate in gardening. Auxiliary members and staff planted hundreds of bulbs in the fall. In May of 1996, amid the flowers planted in the fall, Howard Kates, Administrator, dedicated the new gazebo and gardens for the renamed Huntington Living Center. The summer of 1997 saw the first golf tournament, a fund-raiser that involved many Auxiliary members and Living Center staff in partnership with community businesses that continues today. In 1998, the Auxiliary was also asked to present its puppet show for the Healthcare Association of New York State. The puppet show, "Tina and the Medical Connection" is presented to Kindergarten students in the area as a service project, teaching young children what a trip to the hospital is like. The show is now produced in partnership with the New Vision Medical Career Program students from Geneva General Hospital.
Every year the Auxiliary reports on its activities to the Board of Directors of Finger Lakes Health. These reports detail the time and devotion of the volunteers and Auxiliary members who continue the tradition of caring started by the ladies who organized the Auxiliary in 1958. For 50 years, big needs and small have met by this dedicated group-countless hours of volunteer time, furniture for the new chapel, lobby display cases, a pavilion, garden equipment, games, awning expenses, rollaway beds and courtesy carts for visiting families, wheelchair-accessible picnic tables, beauty parlor equipment, resident entertainment, plants and garden upkeep, support for the Life Enrichment Program training, and more.
Auxiliary 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 on the first Wednesday of the month from 10-11:30 a.m. To learn more about how you can make a difference, call the Activities Director at the Huntington Living Center at 787-4949.
2008 Taylor-Brown Auxiliary Board
Phyllis Dunlap, President
Carol Lord, Vice President
Linda Quackenbush, Past President
Dorothy Wixom, Secretary
Leonie Seitz, Corresponding Secretary
Alice Wadhams, Treasurer
Diane Teeter, Gift Shop Manager
Diane Allen, Gift Shop Treasurer
Betty Geraghty, Chapter III Chair
Dorothy Wixom, Chapter VI Chair
Alice Willson, Chapter VII Chair