The Blount Memorial Auxiliary continued its tradition of giving back to Blount Memorial Hospital with a donation of $131,921 on Monday.

Blount Memorial Board of Directors President Robert Redwine and Assistant Administrator Jane Nelson were on hand to accept the donation.

“You’re a very special group of people,” Redwine told the group of nearly 50 assembled auxiliary members.

The Blount Memorial Auxiliary is made up of more than 250 active volunteers who in the past year donated more than 55,000 combined hours of their time to Blount Memorial Hospital. They performed tasks such as providing extra services to patients, promoting community relations and providing funds through vending machine sales, fundraising events and sales at the hospital gift shop.

“Our volunteers are social animals, so they come here to take care of people. They’re touching people, being with them or helping them with their grief,” said Connie Slingluf, director of Volunteer Services. “Unless you’re having a baby, coming to the hospital is not always a good experience for people, so the volunteers come here to comfort people and let them know someone cares in our community.”

Every cent earned by the auxiliary through sales and fundraising events is donated back to the hospital or its entities. The funds from this year’s donation will help fund projects that include a new biopsy chair for mammography patients, equipment for outpatient and pediatric rehabilitation, and a ventricular assist device to help critically ill patients who are at immediate risk for having a heart attack.

“I think our auxiliary represents the spirit of Blount County,” Nelson said.

“They provide tremendous service, and they’re here day after day. Yes, they help raise funds and we appreciate it, but they also provide a bright spot for visitors and employees, as well. We’re really proud of them and grateful to them.”

Redwine noted the volunteers provide valuable services to the hospital and to Blount Countians and do it without any financial compensation.

At the meeting, the auxiliary also elected its 2019-20 board members with Ed Bagley taking over as the auxiliary’s president and Bonnie Mason serving as vice president.

For more information about the Blount Memorial Auxiliary, visit the Blount Memorial volunteer services department located on the hospital’s service level, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or call 865-977-5609.

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