Hospital volunteers recognized; helistop has record use in March

April 8, 2014

Helicopter landing-81a 600 - 3-7-14LUDINGTON — Many organizations rely on volunteers and their service is being recognized this week (April 6-12) during National Volunteer Week.

Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital is one area organization with a particularly active volunteer group. The hospital’s137 volunteers work in virtually every department, staff the gift shop, and hold fundraisers throughout the year to finance enhancements they donate to the hospital. They contributed more than 19,000 volunteer hours in fiscal year 2013.

Volunteer board chair Candy Fabaz, along with legislative chairperson Penny Henderson, recently presented the group’s first $50,000 donation toward their current multi-year $125,000 pledge. That commitment made possible the hospital’s new helicopter landing site and a family consult room in the new emergency department.

The hospital volunteers were honored at a volunteer week breakfast Monday morning at United Methodist Church of Ludington, with hospital board chair Al Deering giving a welcome message. Approximately 70 volunteers attended. Each volunteer will receive a gift card this week that allows them to select from a range of gifts.

The new gift shop in the hospital lobby, a primary source of the volunteers’ donations, is off to a strong start. The shop opened in September, 2013 and had sales of $31,780 through the end of the year. That’s a 235% increase over the results for the former shop in the comparable period of 2012.

The next major fundraiser for the volunteers is the fourth annual Art at Rest auction of Adirondack chairs and other items decorated by area artists. It will be held June 22 at Lincoln Hills.

Record month for hospital helistop

The new helicopter landing site, made possible by hospital volunteers’ fundraising efforts, is rapidly proving its value to seriously ill or injured patients needing specialized treatment.

A record-breaking 16 emergency helicopter transfers took place in March at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, according to clinical director of emergency care Ruth Sommerfeldt, RN, CEN. The previous record of 15 was set in 2012, in the month of July, typically far busier than the spring months. The hospital had to use the Ludington airport from 2008 until the new helistop opened in January.

There are five to seven helicopter landings in a typical warm weather month when the hospital is usually busiest; fewer in colder months when helicopter flights are not always feasible.

“Of course we hope emergency flights are never necessary,” said volunteer board chair Candy Fabaz, “but we recognize how important rapid emergency transfers are when needed. Our volunteers are proud to be able to contribute such a vital component of the hospital’s expansion program.”

 

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