Observing the passion of a volunteer is truly fascinating. Dedicating time and energy for work that can often go unnoticed is no easy task, but it is exactly what the volunteers serving the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary have been doing for over 50 years.
Forming in 1966, eight years before the Stuart Lake General Hospital opened in 1972, the volunteers of the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary have been dedicated to providing support services and financial assistance to patients, all through the altruistic acts of over 100 members of the community over the years.
Per their website, the devoted members of the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary have kept their caregiving society active and have been able to form a real trust within the community of Fort St. James.
Julie-Ann Mortenson, the current president of the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary, believes that volunteering with a group like this also inhibits the formation of true relationships.
“We look at our group as a kind of a way to feel good about yourself and make good friends,” says Mortenson. “When you’re working together, it makes it easier to make these good friendships.”
The current dedicated group of Auxilians continue to do varied work, from providing funding for equipment requested by health care providers to planting and maintaining the flower beds at the hospital. The group also coordinate and manage a junior volunteer program in hopes of passing down the remarkable volunteering spirit they possess.
“These junior volunteers usually come to the hospital after school and they converse with the six residents that we currently have staying there,” says Mortenson. “They read to them, do odds and ends for them. I know that the seniors that are there quite enjoy having them around.”
Recently, some of the members of the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary were at the Fort St. James Farmer’s Market for to celebrate and appreciate the ongoing support that they have received from the community.
Per their website, a quote from cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead perfectly encapsulates the services they continue to provide to the public.
“Never doubt that a small group of citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
For more information on the Stuart Lake Hospital Auxiliary or how to get involved, visit www.hospitalauxiliary.fortstjames.com/