The BCCH Auxiliary began in 1957 as the for-profit Churchill County Hospital Auxiliary. They have since evolved into the non-profit organization we have today. The Auxiliary’s primary goal has remained constant for the past 64 years, raise funds for hospital equipment and community programs.
Diana Edgmon, Auxiliary President, said “I’ve enjoyed it immensely. All of the lady members are just wonderful women, and so dedicated. We even have two members who have been involved since it began. One is 87, the other is 81, and both are very active.”
The Auxiliary runs the Rainbow Treasures Gift Shop in the foyer of Banner Churchill Community Hospital, and the Stuf 'N' Such Thrift Store at 99 South Nevada Street. Volunteers support the hospital's front desk and physicians' desk, providing information and directions to those entering the facility.
Edgmon said the organization relies on its volunteer members to staff all three locations. Lately, the number of volunteers has been shrinking. Stuf 'N' Such Store Manager Kori Meyer said, “We use 23 of those volunteers here, yet sales and donations are increasing, so more volunteers are really needed.” She's been with the store for five years, saying they do have two paid employees in addition to herself, with an opening for one more.
Auxiliary Public Relations Chairperson Larry Whiteley said, “We've donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the hospital since I started 12 years ago. And we're always looking for volunteers, we had 100 of them when I joined.” Today, their numbers are less than half that figure.
Edgmon said of the Auxiliary, “We help to purchase hospital items not in their budget, such as a new Emergency Services Command Vehicle, and the new furniture in the hospital foyer, lab, and registration waiting areas. This furniture is special in that its construction can handle more weight, and it can be sanitized. We also purchased Hercules beds that help reposition patients who may be bedridden.”
Providing support in the community is also important to the Auxiliary. This year, they donated flu vaccines to Churchill County to give out to residents for free. They awarded $14,500 in scholarships to students studying in health fields. They donated $500 for special uniform pants and boots for high school students studying to become EMTs. They help with blood drives, and the hospital's month-long Breast Cancer and Heart Health programs. They run the annual Prom Closet program that provides free prom dresses to students from Stuf 'N' Such.
All donated items received at the thrift store are sorted into categories at workstations inside the donation drop-off area, then inspected and prepared for resale, amplifying the volunteer efforts needed. “Any items that are not used here but are still usable are donated to other organizations,” Edgmon said.
Stuf 'N' Such is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Meyer said the store is also planning a Black Friday event, “where the entire store will be discounted at the register, and we start our Silent Auction which includes nice things like Coach purses. Jaime Sammons designed a beautifully decorated Christmas tree that is also auctioned off. It's a fun day when we'll be open from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.”
The Rainbow Treasures Gift Shop is open Monday through Thursday, also from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and is the only store in Fallon that sells See's Candies all year round.
Volunteer applications are available at Banner Churchill Community Hospital Volunteer’s office, at the thrift store, gift shop, and online at https://www.bannerhealth.com/services/volunteer. Edgmon emphasized, “Any amount of time, even an hour or two per week can be so helpful, and it's for a good cause. We don't turn anyone or any donation away.”
The Auxiliary Board meets on the second Monday of each month at the Elks Lodge on West Center Street, and anyone may attend. The general meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. with lunch at 11:30 a.m. The Executive Board also includes Vice President Beverly Swirczek, Secretary Lynn Week, Treasurer Pam Craig, and Parliamentarian Penny Valentine-Faith. Board Chairs include Hospital Liaison Toni West-Guillen and Rainbow Treasures Manager Nancy Cromwell. Standing Committee Chairs are Robbie Lynd for Hospital Volunteers, Debbie Smotherman for Membership, Larry Whiteley for Public Relations, Dona Eveatt for Special Projects, and Joanne Fisher for the Sunshine Committee.
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