Columbia Memorial Auxiliary helps with fund-raisers, mission support"I want to dedicate my body to science," a chipper and visibly healthy older woman said as she stepped into Columbia Memorial Hospital. "Where are the forms?"

Eva Moore stared for moment. It was the strangest question she had received during her years as a hospital auxiliary volunteer - which now number 12.

Masking her surprise, More eventually directed the woman to medical surgery, often considered a "hub of information."

"Whatever happened after that I don't know," she said, shaking her head laughing.

Moore is one of 74 Columbia Memorial Hospital Auxiliary volunteers. Some work in the gift shop, direct fund-raisers, water plants and weed the flower garden. Others, like Moore, greet patients and act as runners throughout the facility, carrying paperwork, specimens and flowers to their appropriate homes.

LORI ASSA - The Daily Astorian

Barbara Smith, a five-year volunteer with Columbia Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, helps Naselle, Wash., resident Bert Bauer with a question Friday."Let's face it, we're gophers!" said Marie Schultz, who is co-president of the auxiliary along with Moore.

The women join some 63 million volunteers nationwide who are being celebrated for their dedication during National Volunteer Week, which began Monday.

Since President Nixon's 1974 executive order, every U.S. president has signed a proclamation promoting National Volunteer Week.

"Our volunteers are invaluable to us," said Kate Peterson-Victor who works in admitting at Columbia Memorial. "They're so helpful."

The Columbia Memorial Auxiliary, which is separate from the hospital foundation, raises funds and supports the hospital and its mission. The auxiliary has bought a $50,000 cell counter for the lab, refurbished a birthing room and purchased a rocking chair. This year, members have pledged $35,000 for seven more pieces of equipment.

Auxiliary volunteers dedicate thousands of hours each year raising money and working in the 47-bed hospital.

In addition, they bake cookies, provide two scholarships for Clatsop Community College nursing students and knit caps for newborns.

"Every new baby goes home with a hand-knit stocking cap," said five-year auxiliary veteran Barbara Smith. "They're just cuter than a bug's ear."

The hospital is one of four private, nonprofit, nonaffiliated hospitals left in Oregon.

MORE INFO.For those who are left wondering how to donate one's body to research, the forms are available by contacting the hospital's social services department, (503) 325-4321. Individuals can also call the Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank at (800) 344-8916 to learn about organ donations, which includes whole-body donations."We make it or break it on our bottom line, which is they are so important," said Starla Niemann, human resources director.

Besides saving the hospital money and providing for equipment the facility would otherwise go without, auxiliary member s save staff time and trips around the building.

Volunteer runner Lempi Larson wore a pedometer all of 2003 and clocked out with 255.8 miles walked that year.

Moore tried keeping track, and was averaging six miles a day when her pedometer broke.

"It comes back to us," Moore said of the auxiliary's dedication. "You're giving back to the community and meeting new friends."

Plus, they say the auxiliary is like a family.

"A few of them have tried going to work and would rather do this," Schultz, 80, said. "This keeps me going, I'll tell you."


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