Sunday, May 26, 2024

Hospital auxiliary celebrates 50 years of service

Members speak about history, celebrate accomplishments

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AZLE — What do the Rubik’s Cube, President Nixon’s resignation, and the Texas Health Azle Auxiliary all have in common? Each turned 50 years old this year.

For half a century, dedicated auxiliary volunteers have helped serve Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Azle. Started Feb. 27, 1974, the group originally went by the name Eagle Mountain Area Suburban Hospital Auxiliary or EMASH to reflect the hospital’s original name. While the hospital and its name have changed, many of the auxiliary’s members have not. Janet Hargrove, Janie Rector and Carolyn Mobley, all present at a recent general meeting and 50th anniversary celebration, are just three auxiliary volunteers who were a part of the daring 197 that began assisting and raising funds for the local hospital its debut year.

“It feels pretty good,” 89-year-old Mobley said of the accomplishment.” We had an awful lot of fun. We did a lot of things to make money.”

Along with Dr. James Savage, Mobley’s husband, Dr. Jack Mobley, was one of the first two doctors to serve at the Azle location. Carolyn Mobley herself was instrumental in founding Attic Rerun Resale Shop with fellow volunteer Shirley Dechert after the two saw a similar idea on display at a Texas-wide quarterly meeting of hospital auxiliaries. Mobley then ran the business for 12 years.

“We came home, and we thought ‘we can do that,’ so we did. We had a lot of fun. We didn’t know what we were going to do but we did it. I’m just thankful there’s still a few volunteers. Volunteers are hard to find.”

THAZ raises money in a variety of ways including Attic Rerun and the Rainbow Land Gift Shop located inside the hospital.

“I had an opportunity to use the hospital about a year ago and it was nice to know that it was here, and it was so accessible,” fellow semicentennial volunteer Janie Rector said. “I think because it’s smaller and a lot of people that work there are from the community, the sense of pride is pretty great.”

The April 19 meeting celebrated its longtime auxiliary members at First Methodist Church in Azle. Several auxiliary members and Texas Health Azle staff spoke at the event.

“The other day I was listening to the radio, and somebody mentioned the year 1974 and I thought that’s not that long ago and then I did the math and realized it’s been 50 years,” First Vice President Karen Searfoss said.

Searfoss went on to break down many of the differences between now and when the auxiliary started. For example, the price of a loaf of bread was 35 cents, and gas was 53 cents per gallon. The Ford Pinto was the most popular car and only cost $1,527, and a new house could be bought for $30,000.

“You can see why they called it the good old days,” Searfoss said.

Last year, the auxiliary gave out eight scholarships totaling $8,500 to Azle High School seniors going into the medical field. Yet, these tremendous contributions are only the tip of the iceberg. Another major donation was the $10,873 raised to build a new projection system in the hospital’s boardroom. At least $5,200 was given to local charitable organizations like Good N.E.W.S. Funds were also given in memory of and to honor past and current members like Sally Boyd, John Searfoss and Janet Stevens. Since 2000, the auxiliary’s contributions to the hospital have exceeded $1 million.

Tonya Sosebee, chief operating and chief nursing officer for Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle and a DFW Great 100 Nurse listee also spoke at the event, thanking the auxiliary for its hard work and time.

“Your impact, your financial contributions, along with the countless hours of service that you have so graciously given over the years has allowed Texas Health Azle to be the cornerstone for healthcare services for our community,” Sosebee said. “Our relationship is much like a marriage. You’ve been there for us in good times and bad, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer. Since 2000, the auxiliary has purchased vital equipment, sponsored area remodels, given countless scholarships, made contributions to philanthropy and anything else honestly that we’ve needed or that we’ve asked for.”

At the end of the meeting, Suzanne Bess, Debra Waller, Lee Anderson, Carol Calkins, Laura Ingram, Cathy Osterman, Barbara Pace, Pat Groff, Ferrol Miller and Mary Fonville were each recognized and awarded their respective pins for hitting volunteer-hour milestones ranging from 50 to 2,250.

Texas Health Azle is located at 108 Denver Trail. The Attic Rerun Resale Shop is located at 714 Southeast Parkway and is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.