MONETARY DONATION’Debbie Vickers, president of the Heart of Texas Memorial Hospital Ladies’ Auxiliary, presents board member Dr. Richard Lane with a check for $12,000. The funds will be used to assist in purchasing equipment for the surgical suite recently re-opened at the local hospital. Serving Brady, McCulloch County and the Heart of Texas Memorial Hospital as well as the financial needs of several students hoping to pursue a career in the medical field are just a few of the services that the Hospital Auxiliary, now in its 27th year, provides for the local community. Since its inception in 1974, the same year that the hospital was opened, the Auxiliary has volunteered anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 volunteer hours per year through efforts that keep the downtown Auxiliary Thrift Store afloat, to manning the phone lines at the hospital. Led by officers Debbie Vickers as president, Lillian Johnson as vice president, Marguerite Threadgill as treasurer and Margaret Engdahl as secretary, the organization sports 11 active members and 33 associate members. Over the years, the Auxiliary has donated close to $165,000 to hospital projects ranging from cosmetic changes inside the facility to a new sprinkler system. Last week, the Auxiliary donated $12,000 to the hospital to assist in the purchase of medical equipment for the new surgical suite at the facility. Although Auxiliary volunteers aren’t manning the phone lines anymore at the hospital, Mrs. Threadgill still keeps the vending machines stocked and in working order. “The vending machines don’t really make us any money,” said Mrs. Vickers. “We simply maintain them as a service to the hospital.” Today, the Auxiliary’s primary goal is seeing that students who choose to enter the medical field receive some sort of compensation through local scholarships put in place by the organization. “This year, we have 10 McCulloch County high school students that have received scholarship money from the Auxiliary,” said Mrs. Vickers. The Lena Mae Land Scholarship is awarded annually to students in McCulloch County, and as long as the student stays in a health-related field of study, $250 is given each semester. The Betty Williams Memorial Scholarship was introduced in 2001 and is available for students training to become a registered nurse. The Auxiliary awards $350 per semester for this scholarship. “Mrs. Williams probably put in more hours than any other volunteer we’ve ever had. We wanted to set up a scholarship in her name to pay tribute to her many years of service,” Mrs. Vickers explained. In addition, the Auxiliary also awards four scholarships to the local Central Texas College vocational nursing program offered annually in Brady. “We’ve given out close to $3,400 in scholarship money this year alone,” she said. “We help these students every semester. It’s not a whole lot, but every little bit helps.” One of the money-makers that helps keep the organization going is the Auxiliary Thrift Shop, open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until noon. Staffed solely by volunteers, Lou Bunten manages the shop which serves as the organization’s best and most consistent fund-raising project. The Thrift Shop averages $350 in income per month and accepts donations from the community. In addition to the usual clothing items received, Mrs. Vickers added that the shop also receives household and kitchen items as well as crafts and knick-knacks. Assisting Mrs. Bunten at the thrift shop are Dorene Patterson, Deloris Barton, Barbara Fields, Katie Bateman, Lillian Johnson and Evelyn Farris. These ladies volunteer numerous hours every week for the benefit of the hospital and the local community. As a consistent asset to the community, the Auxiliary is always in need of volunteers. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Hospital Auxiliary or interested in making a clothing or monetary donation is urged to contact Mrs. Vickers at 597-0262.