The Auxiliary of St. David's Medical Center
The Auxiliary at St. David’s Medical Center (A4CH) has had several names since its founding in 1955. Before being changed to the current name in 2017, it was known as St. David’s Medical Center Healthcare Volunteers. The focus of the Volunteers or “Auxiliary” has evolved successfully due to the quality and dedication of its many volunteers. Having outgrown the St. David’s Hospital facilities at 17th and Rio Grande, the president of St. David’s Board of Trustees, Hulon Black, requested board member John Barclay to meet at the nurses home at 17th and Rio Grande on Friday March 3, 1955, with eleven ladies who would organize the Auxiliary.
The purpose of the meeting would be to establish a volunteer program to be a support service to the new hospital and promote scholarship and charitable programs. Mrs. Frank Davol was the temporary chairman. Mrs. James C. Dolley was elected to serve as the first president. Serving with her, as the first executive committee, were Mrs. Walter. E. Seaholm, vice-president; Mrs. Truman Morris, secretary; and Mrs. Frank Erwin, Jr., treasurer.
These officers were the first executive committee. Mrs. R. A. Cooper served as coordinator of volunteers. Other members of the Board of Directors were as follows: Cupboard Chairmen, Mrs. Robert Hatchett and Mrs. Charles Harwicke; Desk Chairman, Mrs. Summerfield Taylor and Mrs. Frank Robinson; Publicity, Mrs. Harry Akin; Library, Mrs. Jack Fryer and Mrs. Meade Griffin; Membership, Mrs. T. J. Archer and Mrs. Barney Farmer; and Uniforms, Mrs. H. F. Voss. That first year, 281 Auxilians helped with admissions, delivered patient mail and flowers, and helped the hospital staff as requested, volunteering 17,682 hours.
The Auxiliary’s goals of service and support to the hospital and Austin community have remain unchanged. However, in 1996, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) entered into a joint venture with SDMC, and the St. David’s Foundation was established and the Auxiliary’s support to the hospital was forever changed. Prior to 1996, the Auxiliary’s fundraising efforts emphasized the purchase of hospital equipment and medical supplies.
Some of the Auxiliary’s purchases included the tube system, hyperbaric equipment, furnishings for labor and delivery rooms, and landscaping improvements to Barclay Park, including installing the “Mother and Child” sculpture by Charles Umlauf.
Ladies Auxiliary Founded in 1955
Ambassadors For Community Health
Today’s volunteers contribute many hours of service and work not only in the Atrium Gift Shop and at the Information Desk, but also in numerous hospital departments including Surgery Waiting, Newborn Nursery, ICU, Rehabilitation, Emergency, the Breast Center, and the Bariatric Center. Auxiliary membership too, has changed over the years. Membership is now optional.
While the hospital has hundreds of volunteers, they are not automatically members of the Auxiliary. A4CH continues to provide support to Volunteer Services and hospital patients, as well as additional opportunities allowing members to participate on the Board of Directors and provide extra support for the Auxiliary’s efforts and governance. A4CH employs an Executive Director, and the Board of Directors meets on the third Thursday of each month.
A past president of the Auxiliary in 1990, Violet (Bitsy) Rider, wrote the following: “Association with other volunteers is enjoyable. Lasting friendships are made. Joy is found in helping patients and relatives make their hospital stay less stressful. While volunteers give many hours of time to the hospital, they receive individual satisfaction and rewards.”
A4CH strives to continue this tradition for generations to come to benefit patients, volunteers, and healthcare professionals alike.