By MARLA PISCIOTTA
For The State Journal
The Hampshire Memorial Hospital Development Fund has made great progress in less than two years of its existence, said Neil McLaughlin, president of Hampshire Memorial Hospital, located in Romney.
More than 60 HMH employees donate close to $14,000 a year.
Kelley Ritenour is the development manager.
"We ask for help from our employees first. We hold an employee campaign that lasts from March to the end of June. Employees can cash in unused vacation time or make a one-time donation from their pay," Ritenour said.
Part of Ritenour's job is to go into the community and solicit funds from business and individuals.
Funds are used for myriad purposes, from helping obese children to purchasing needed equipment and educating and training staff members.
McLaughlin said the fund picks up the loose ends of what wouldn't necessarily be planned in the overall scheme of the hospital.
In less than two years the fund has sponsored a "Fit-4-Kidz" camp at the Hampshire Wellness and Fitness Center.
"This is an obese camp," Ritenour said. "Ten children from the community are chosen each year to come to the center two days a week for six weeks."
The purpose of the camp is to teach kids healthy eating, how to make healthy snacks, exercise and swim.
"In addition, a parent for each child is offered a free membership at the center during the six week camp," Ritenour said.
The fund has provided a defibrillator to the Augusta Church of Christ Community Center and funded a hearing device that will be used on the pediatric patients at the hospital clinic.
Funding also is supplied to patients in need. If patients are discharged and not able to pay for prescriptions, the fund steps in to help.
If patients are dropped off at the emergency room and unable to find a way home, the fund kicks in for taxi fare.
"We have purchased seven television sets for emergency rooms to improve patient satisfaction," Ritenour said.
Education and scholarship are equally important for the committee.
"We have set aside a book fund for the staff's continuing education and health care," she said.
All of the money raised in Hampshire County stays in the county, and donations are tax-free.
Employees or the Wellness Center can put in a grant request for anything that would benefit a patient, staff or the hospital.
There are numerous funds within the development fund tagged for specific purposes:
"These are things as a hospital we wouldn't necessarily find ourselves doing," McLaughlin said.
Working with members of the community ensures that all needs are met.
"The committee is a nice blend of people trying to fund health related needs not part of our base operation," McLaughlin said.
HMH is part of the Valley Health System. All the system's facilities have a development fund or foundation fund.
Members of each committee are either working or living in their specific counties.