As construction continues on the Mario Pastega House expansion, the house has received a few recent special gifts toward its daily operations.
Most notably, the house has received a $1.06 million gift from the Clifford Heselton Trust. Heselton, of Philomath, passed away in December 2020 and left his entire estate to local charities, including the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation’s fund for Pastega House operations.
Heselton had a career in aerospace in Southern California, even working on the space shuttle. He and his wife June retired to Philomath to be near friends. She preceded him in death in 1991.
“Mr. Heselton learned about the Pastega House in the newspaper when it was opening and he decided to send in a check to support it,” said Darrel Kau, executive director of the hospital foundation. “He got to meet Mario Pastega and became friendly with him, and also had tours of the house. He had no direct experience but he just felt it was important to have a guest house at a large hospital. It started with an article in the paper and led to over a $1 million legacy gift!”
In addition, the house has received a $22,500 gift from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Oregon State University. The fraternity does an annual tug-of-war fundraiser on campus, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the group pivoted this year and sold special T-shirts to raise support.
The fraternity held a contest among the university’s sororities to design the shirts, and Alpha Chi Omega won the contest.
The Pastega Family Foundation matched the amount raised to reach the $22,500.
The house serves patients and families who must travel to the hospital campus for specialty medical care, ranging from surgeries to cancer treatments. About a third of the house’s guests come to Corvallis for cancer treatments at the Samaritan Pastega Regional Cancer Center. Other patients visit the hospital for heart surgeries or other specialty procedures.
It was made possible by a $350,000 gift from the late Mario and Alma Pastega, and the family foundation continues to support it today.
Construction is underway now to double the capacity of the house, from 12 to 24 rooms. Many of the new rooms will have two queen beds, which will offer better accommodations for larger families. The project also includes upgraded laundry and kitchen facilities.