LAKEPORT, Calif. – There aren’t any formal historical records that show how long the Sutter Lakeside Auxiliary volunteers have served Lakeside Hospital, but rumor has it the first “pink ladies” walked the hospital corridors in the 1970s.
Regardless of how long the auxiliary has served the hospital, Sutter Lakeside leaders, staff and patients agree that no other volunteer group deserves a bigger “thank you” during this National Volunteer Week from April 12 to 18.
“Our auxiliary volunteers are cherished community members who bring a unparalleled amount of experience, support and caring to Sutter Lakeside,” said Sutter Lakeside Chief Administrative Officer Siri Nelson.
In the past few years alone, the auxiliary has donated more than $127,000 toward life-saving medical equipment and technology. The auxiliary also funds health care-related scholarships.
Auxiliary President Sharon Brasher leads approximately 25 individuals who volunteer a total of 450 to 500 hours each month to help patients and hospital staff members.
For example, they run the gift shop; organize bake sales; assist patients and family members; and deliver gift baskets, flowers and books.
“The auxiliary is a dedicated, reliable group of volunteers who make a real difference in our community,” Brasher said. “We’re all proud to help with important health care programs and support staff and patients.”
The auxiliary is best known for its busy gift shop in the hospital lobby, which is run by Alberta Knoll.
Since she started volunteering in 2001, Knoll has devoted more than 9,600 hours of her time revitalizing this small shop and more than quadrupling its earnings.
All gift shop proceeds support Sutter Lakeside programs and services.
“I owned and operated a local community store before I retired, so when I walked into the original hospital gift shop I recognized a huge potential to raise more money for Sutter,” Knoll recalled. “I’m pleased to use my retail skills to give back to the community.”
Another auxiliary volunteer, Leah Taylor, has volunteered for more than 5,100 hours since 2000.
She started at the surgery center front desk and later moved to the gift shop, where she’s volunteered for more than 10 years.
“I started volunteering at the hospital when I was about 65, after my husband had been in the hospital a few times and I got to know the nurses,” Taylor said. “I love interacting with people and I like to work; I started babysitting at age 12 for 25 cents an hour.”
“We can’t thank Sharon, Alberta, Leah and all of our wonderful auxiliary volunteers enough,” Nelson said. “Because of them, we’re able to provide services that otherwise would be impossible.”