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Feature Article Sweet Home couple helps hospital auxiliary raise $1 million

Carl and Joyce Long of Sweet Home love being active, as well as giving their time and energy to the Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital Auxiliary.

“We’re always busy, so why not focus our energy here,” said Carl, 74. “And to see everything that’s happened here at the hospital and across the street, it’s been exciting.”

The Longs are among several active auxiliary members who have helped the organization raise more than $1 million toward health care services in east Linn County since 1985. These funds have gone toward equipment and major projects at the hospital and its outlying clinics in Lebanon, Sweet Home and Brownsville, as well as scholarships for east Linn County students pursuing health careers.

The auxiliary has raised these funds through the Caring Corner gift shop and Garden Grounds espresso stand at the hospital, pie sales at Lebanon’s summer Concerts in the Park and various special sales at the hospital.

The Longs, married for 53 years, started volunteering at the hospital in 2003 at the encouragement of fellow auxiliary member Mollie Wolthuis. “We’ve known Mollie for 20 years,” Joyce said. “I met her when we both volunteered at the Sweet Home Library more than 20 years ago. Mollie started volunteering at the hospital, so when Carl retired 11 years ago, we followed her here.”

Joyce is one of the auxiliary’s mailroom volunteers, sorting and delivering the mail every Wednesday, assembling packets for new moms and doing other projects as needed.

Carl volunteers in the gift shop every Wednesday. He also helps sell poinsettias throughout Lebanon in October, and he served as auxiliary president in 2007.

What would they say to anyone looking for a place to volunteer? “We would absolutely recommend you volunteer at the hospital,” Carl said. “There are so many things you can get involved with here.”

Aside from working at the gift shop, espresso stand and auxiliary sales, volunteers also visit with patients and visitors throughout the hospital as they wait for their procedures.

Throughout 2014, volunteers have given more than 16,000 hours to the hospital and auxiliary. That equals eight full-time positions.

“It’s more than the hours our volunteers give or the funds they raise,” said Marty Cahill, chief operations officer for the hospital. “Volunteers give us their passion and commitment—they generously give of themselves to support our mission in building healthier communities together.”

The auxiliary is looking for more volunteers to help at Garden Grounds, Caring Corner and the other auxiliary-operated activities. Medical training is not required, and all necessary training will be provided. Volunteers must be 15 or older.

Click here for more information or call Roxie Snyder, volunteer services manager, at 541-451-7062.