Groves salutes its volunteers after 75 years of giving to hospital

Over 300 vol­un­teers packed the Sportsplex here May 10 night to enjoy a dinner of appreciation.

They were cele­bra­t­­ing 75 years of service to Groves hospital, and those in the know said flatly the hospital simply could not run without them.

MPP Ted Arnott said in an interview, “If it weren’t for the volunteers, the public health system would collapse.”

He hopes the community will be generous when the CT Scanner fundraising appeal is underway.

That same night, the Groves Volunteer Hospital Association presented the Groves Founda­tion with two cheques. One was for $87,500 and is the penul­timate payment on the volun­teer association’s pledge from 2002 to donate $1-million to the renovation project. That project has since morphed into plans for a new hospital.

At the same time, the vol­unteers presented Groves with another cheque for $75,000 to help kickstart the CT Scanner fundraising appeal.

Chief Executive Officer Jer­ome Quenneville said volunteers provide “items our community would otherwise do without.”

Quenneville said of the volunteers “It’s really some­thing to see the difference they make in the hospital, and the com­munity as a whole. It’s no wonder the Wellington Adver­tiser does a big spread in the paper in appreciation.”

He added people from all over come to the Groves emer­gency department partly be­cause of the shorter waits, but also because the vol­un­teers offer compassion­ate care

The volunteers provide patient care, patient ser­vices, and fundraising . In fundraising, there are four sections.

The television rentals start­ed in 2002, and that group has raised $60,000 to date. The Gift Shop began in 1965 and to April, it raised $300,000, and has over 40 volunteers.

The Arthur Opportunity Shop began in 1979, and has 20 volunteers. To April, it had raised $422,000.

The Fergus Opportunity Shop began in 1953, and had 11 different homes. It gained a permanent home in the old Fergus Police building on St. David Street North, and got renovations in 2007. It has 90 volunteers, and has earned $1.3-million since 1991.

Groves Foundation chair­man Ted Ecclestone saluted the volunteers, saying, “You guys are absolutely fabulous.”

He also noted that the volunteers come from all walks of life. "I met my Sunday School teacher here tonight.”

Norma Seibert, who will be the president of the Groves Volunteer Association until her term is up in October, said the volunteers help make her job easier. She said the association could have paid its $1-million pledge this year, but decided instead to help get the CT Scanner appeal off the ground.

Seibert said if the volunteers were not there, officials would need to hire the equivalent of 18.5 full time staff to do the work they provide.

“We had 34,000 volunteer hours last year,” she said with pride, adding people in the Groves catchment area “give more – and we have more volunteers than some cities.”

She said there are numerous others who give of their time, including a sewing group that comes in to repair torn garments and linens, thus saving the hospital huge amounts of replacement cash.

Groves board of directors chairman Janet Vallery said she could not imagine the hospital without its volunteers.

She cited the two cheques presented that evening, and added, “They motivate the rest of the community.

MP Michael Chong said his generation has to now step forward. “Previous generations of Canadians have had a real com­mitment to volunteering and a spirit of giving. It is my hope that as people of my generation, in their 20s and 30s, starting moving into positions of importance, will carry on the tradition … People of my generation need that example and how to give back to the community.”