50 years of service: Cullman Regional Auxiliary hangs up pink smocks

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The 50th anniversary celebration gathered past and present volunteers who reminisced and celebrated the many years of service to Cullman Regional. / Cullman Regional

CULLMAN –  Cullman Regional’s Auxiliary Volunteers recently donated $48,000 in life-saving equipment to the Cullman Regional’s Ambulance Service, Cullman Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as their final gift to the organization. The Auxiliary, lovingly referred to as the “Pink Ladies,” made the donation as they decided to retire the program after 50 years.

“We’ve decided to retire our pink smocks, and become adult volunteers around the hospital serving in various capacities as needed,” said longtime Auxiliary President Sarah Hicks. “Since we originally began as an additional fundraising arm of the hospital, we wanted to make our final donation toward life-saving equipment, and the LUCAS system is just that.”

The LUCAS Chest Compression System helps lifesaving teams around the world deliver high-quality, guidelines-consistent CPR chest compressions in the field and on the move. LUCAS is designed to help improve outcomes of sudden cardiac arrest victims and improve operations for medical responders. Performing 102 compressions per minute with a depth of 2.1 inches, LUCAS can be deployed quickly with minimal interruption to patient care.

“The LUCAS machines donated by the Auxiliary will most definitely help save lives in Cullman County,” said Cullman EMS Director James Curtis, Jr. FP-C. “The system allows the paramedics to focus on getting the patient moving toward more advanced hospital care, while continuing to provide consistent CPR to any patients that have experienced cardiac arrest.”

The Auxiliary began in 1967 when the volunteers decided that they wanted to organize a formal service organization for the hospital. According to Hicks, the original group had been serving as volunteers at the hospital when they decided to make it an official organization. Some of the first Auxiliary members were:

  • Mrs. Marguarite Lockridge, First Auxiliary President
  • Mrs. John T. Miller
  • Mrs. Roy Daily
  • Mrs. Elbert Ponder
  • Mrs. Leroy Bledsoe
  • Mrs. David Wecht
  • Mrs. Hardy Austin
  • Mrs. Floyd Stubbs
  • Mrs. Robert Worley
  • Mrs. Charles Molar
  • Mrs. Mel Gerkensmier

The Auxiliary Volunteers have been bringing smiles to patients around Cullman Regional by delivering papers, flowers, cards, balloons and more every day. They ran the gift shop for several years at the new hospital when it first opened and held various fundraising events including the $5 jewelry sales and book sales.

“Over the years, our fundraising events allowed us to create revenue which we could donate for various needs around the hospital such as the LUCAS machines donated to the ambulance service,” Hicks said.

In its heyday, the Auxiliary boasted 35 members, but after years of waning membership, the group decided it was time to retire. The final Auxiliary members are: Sarah Hicks, president for the past 32 years, with 36 years of service; Sharon Hicks, 6 years; Faye Morris, 32 years; Linda Morris, 15 years; Odie Ponder, 10 years; and Maxine Tucker, 10 years. The ladies were honored with a farewell retirement reception recently to thank them for their wonderful service to the organization.

“The Auxiliary has been a staple of service we provide to our patients over the years,” Cullman Regional CEO James Clements said. “We’re excited (that) the majority of these ladies have agreed to stay on as volunteers in other capacities around the hospital.”

For more information on Cullman Regional services or volunteer opportunities, visit www.cullmanregional.com or call 256-737-2618.