Big Stone Gap – Lonesome Pine Hospital’s auxiliary, which provides valuable assistance to patients and staff in the facility, has broadened its community support to include students at a local college.
The auxiliary recently presented a $10,000 check to the Mountain Empire Community College Foundation to start an endowment that will support scholarships for students in need. Pat Bowden, the auxiliary’s treasurer, said the hospital volunteers are excited to be able to support education through the contribution of these funds.
“These ladies have worked hard over the years to earn this money, and we feel this would be the most worthwhile way to allocate these resources,” Bowden said. “Everyone knows how challenging it can be for college students to pay all the costs associated with their education, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help. It will be a lasting legacy for those ladies who have participated – in some cases for decades – with the auxiliary.”
Bowden said the auxiliary raised the money in a variety of ways, such as gift shop sales, jewelry shows, book sales and bake sales. The money was placed in a certificate of deposit, which recently matured, leading the auxiliary to examine the best use for the funds.
Applicants who live in Big Stone Gap will receive the highest priority for the scholarship, followed by those who live in Wise and Lee counties. At the auxiliary’s request, the college will also give preference to students who are majoring in a health care field.
“It takes a lot of effort to raise $10,000, and we’re so grateful the auxiliary has decided to share these funds with our students,” said Donna Stanley, executive director of the college’s foundation. “This will benefit students in the community tremendously and enable them to advance their academic pursuits with a little less concern about the financial impact.”
The auxiliary also uses funds from its multiple fundraising methods to assist the hospital with some of its needs.
Stanley noted the donation to the college from the auxiliary is not only money the hospital has provided. The Lonesome Pine Hospital Community Hospital Fund has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the school in support of nursing students. It’s that type of community spirit emanating from Lonesome Pine that pleases Dale Clark, the hospital’s president.
“The auxiliary is an outstanding group that provides integral support to physicians and co-workers, and the establishment of the endowment is just the latest example of the community spirit it has exhibited for decades,” Clark said. “And our community fund has made a palpable difference in Wise County with solid investments in the community and education that have enhanced the quality of life considerably. It is a privilege to work with these groups – and our physicians and staff – to meaningfully impact our community.”