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Cuero volunteers 'backbone' of hospital

By Sonny Long
Nov. 8, 2013 at 5:08 a.m.
Updated Nov. 9, 2013 at 5:09 a.m.

Pat Gott, volunteer, left, speaks with Mary Tice, customer, right, after Tice purchased a cookbook from the gift shop on her way out of the Cuero Community Hospital. "All of our profits from the gift shop go back to the hospital, they tell us what they need and we try to provide it to them." Gott said.

They no longer officially go by the name "pink ladies" or "auxiliary," but a group of dedicated volunteers has been the heart of Cuero Community Hospital for more than 40 years.

"The auxiliary is the backbone of the hospital," said Sharon Weber, the hospital's marketing director who oversees the group and is also a member.

"They have been our ambassadors forever. They give gifts that the hospital couldn't otherwise afford," Weber said.

Recent major gifts have included a $100,000 donation for the expansion of the Wishing Well gift shop - quadrupling it in size - and assisting with construction of the new Hamilton-Wallis Chapel.

The Cuero Community Health Volunteers have also pledged another $100,000 toward the construction of a new $1.5 million Wellness Center.

The group has also made sure there are televisions and recliners for visitors in all the patients' rooms as well as aesthetic features such as artwork throughout the facility.

It also gives three scholarships a year to DeWitt County nursing students.

"When I started as treasurer about 15 years ago, we maybe had $5,000 in the bank," said Emily Davis, the group's treasurer and wife of a retired doctor who has been a member since 1992.

"It's just been in the last few years that we've been able to give the kind of money we've been able to give."

Davis said revenue is generated in a number of ways including, in part, through the Wishing Well and Bloomingdeals Resale Shoppe, 106 W. Reuss Blvd.

Both shops have paid store managers: Myrna Hassfield at the Wishing Well and Teddie Morrison at Bloomingdeals.

"They are great managers," said Davis. "They love what they do and work hard. They make sure things run like a business."

Hassfield praised the volunteers who work in the two shops.

"They give freely of their time and resources," she said. "Without them, there would be no shops and less income providing services to the hospital. They are the unsung heroes of Cuero Community Hospital."

The nonprofit organization also has an annual bake sale event that includes a gold sale that the group receives a percentage from.

It also has a poinsettia sale and accepts gifts, donations and memorials.

The Cuero ladies auxiliary was originally formed in November 1964 at Burns Hospital.

The current hospital opened in 1970, and the organization has grown to about 120 members.

Cuero Mayor Sara Meyer was the group's first president at Cuero Community Hospital.

"The diverse members of the group are extremely dedicated in their service to the patients at the hospital," said Meyer.

"They have worked many, many hours to raise money to help with particular projects that the hospital needs."

President Cindy Holcomb joined the group about seven years ago.

She said she was looking forward to decorating the hospital the first week of December and hosting the annual employees and patients Christmas party.

"It's an amazing group," Holcomb said. "I'm blessed to be part of it."

Weber, too, has a special place in her heart for the organization.

"It's the greatest group. They are dedicated and loyal. They love to be with and help people," said Weber.

"I can't wait until I can grab a pink jacket and put it on."

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