THE AUXILIARY of Springfield Hospital Center celebrated 50 years of service at a luncheon Saturday in building G on the center's grounds. Many volunteer members attended, as did past presidents of the auxiliary, board members and visitors.
Betty Jean Maus, director of volunteer services and a member for 47 years, served as host of the event.
In a presentation that focused on the group's service and fellowship, Maus outlined major accomplishments, and paid tribute to the people who belonged to the auxiliary through the years.
Maus said efforts to improve conditions and services for patients sometimes were not met with enthusiasm by members of the auxiliary's board. The board often felt the group was "biting off more than they could chew," as she put it, but her persistence and desire to improve the lives of the residents at Springfield, and the unwavering help of her volunteers, kept her motivated. The auxiliary consistently achieved its goals.
The major accomplishments highlighted were: opening a patients' canteen; opening the Muncie Center, which began as an adolescent residential center, and is now a unit for deaf people; construction of the first gazebo at Springfield, one of many on the grounds; and building an interdenominational chapel. To encourage nurses to further their education, the auxiliary offered scholarships. The auxiliary also held many holiday parties for patients, as well as open houses.
Five years ago, the auxiliary opened a boutique on the grounds to provide clothing and other personal items for patients. Judy Gambrill, who runs the boutique, said patients often are wearing hospital gowns or state-issued clothing. Many don't have outside support from family or friends, and rely on donations provided to the boutique.
"Patients love the boutique," said Gambrill, who takes pride in providing the service for patients.
Paula Langmead, chief executive officer of Springfield Hospital Center, said in her remarks to the group that the auxiliary was formed shortly after the publication of a newspaper article that detailed conditions that existed at the hospital center at the time because of underfunding. Langmead said a group of community women organized and went to the hospital to address concerns highlighted by The Sun. She recognized the sacrifice made by the volunteers, many of whom found time to help the center despite responsibilities at home and work.
"These women started the nucleus that was to become the Women's Auxiliary," said Langmead. "They wanted the lives of the mentally ill to be improved."
Langmead said that thousands of community volunteers became involved at Springfield. Many prepared home-cooked meals for residents, while others were involved in fund-raisers for major projects. The Women's Auxiliary is now known as The Auxiliary.
Guest speakers at the luncheon included W. Fred Hitchcock, director of volunteer services for the state; Carroll County Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge; Kenneth Holniker, a former member of the Springfield Hospital Center Citizens Advisory Board and a candidate for the House of Delegates; and Sykesville Councilwoman Jeannie Nichols, a candidate for county commissioner.
Hitchcock presented two Governor's Citations to the auxiliary at the luncheon. He praised group members for their dedication and noted that many are longtime volunteers, having served for 20 years or more.
He said the 50th anniversary is an amazing milestone for a volunteer group, and praised Maus for her 47 years of participation, first as a volunteer and then as director.
"Betty Jean Maus is my role model when it comes to" voluntarism, he told the group.
Maus said that working with the auxiliary has been the highlight of her time at Springfield.
Friends of Old Trinity Cemetery are sponsoring the 13th Cemetery Day at 3 p.m. Sunday at the cemetery, behind the shopping center under construction at Routes 32 and 26.
According to Jim Purman, assistant curator of Sykesville Gate House Museum of History and a member of the sponsoring group, the event will include a discussion of the cemetery's history, a walk through the cemetery, and a secret "guest from the past." Children are invited to attend the event wearing their Halloween costumes.
Refreshments will be served. The entrance to the cemetery is marked with a small sign and a flag.
Debra Taylor Young's neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.