Million dollar milestone for Mercy Auxiliary-Berryville

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 ~ Updated 1:31 PM
David Bell / Carroll County News

Joy Flake, center left, visits with Ann Coleman and other Mercy Auxiliary members Monday during the presentation of a check representing over $1 million in donations over the last three decades.

BERRYVILLE -- The Mercy Hospital Auxiliary celebrated donating $1 million to the hospital with cake, punch and a giant cardboard check on Monday.

"Through the years, our auxiliary has always been the cornerstone of our hospital," said Kristy Estrem, president of Mercy Hospital in Berryville. "Not only are we celebrating $1 million in cash donations ... our auxiliary has logged almost half a million volunteer hours, 547,982 to be exact."

The auxiliary has worked toward its million-dollar goal since 1982, when they were incorporated into the 501 nonprofit status.

However, the auxiliary started in 1969 with 25 members; now it has more than 280. Some of the members are inactive and have bought a lifetime membership, while others are able donate time by helping with hospital jobs such as working the information desk at the entrance.

"You do a wonderful, wonderful job," said Richard Harp, chairman of the board of directors for Mercy. "I just don't know how this hospital could get along without you. A million dollars-plus is one heck of a milestone, and all the countless hours put in by the volunteers and all their hard work is just mind boggling."

Ten years after its start, in 1979, the auxiliary disbanded and later reorganized in 1982. Since then they have sold baked goods and jewelry, opened thrift stores, made critters for ER patients and opened a gift shop to help raise funds for hospital projects, such as equipping an intensive care unit. Which the auxiliary did with more than $67,000 in donations that they collected.

"I have been chairman for the thrift store in Green Forest," said Neta Sue Stamps, vice president of Mercy Auxiliary-Berryville. "And I have baked and baked and baked and bought jewelry. There is no end to what we are going to do"

One of the recent achievements of the auxiliary was donating approximately $75,000 to a $250,000 project to renovate some of the hospital's rooms.

The auxiliary has also recently partnered with the local food bank and charity Loaves and Fishes to help with the backpack program, which helps feed hungry children who depend on the school for food by providing them with nourishment over the weekends or when they are away from school.

"We would like to get out more in the community," said Joy Flake, auxiliary president. "And we would like for there to be more information out there for other people as far as them wanting to join or volunteer, because it is something that is very gratifying and the more that is in the auxiliary the more it is possible for the auxiliary to get involved with."

For more information about volunteering, call Deana Davidson at 870-423-5230.

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