Penn Highlands Elk Auxiliary Turns 122

The Penn Highlands Elk Auxiliary has been serving the community for 122 years with a rich history behind and ahead of them.

The history of the Penn Highlands Elk Auxiliary dates back to 1902 when the Elk County General Hospital Auxiliary was formed. Twenty years later, in April 1922, the Andrew Kaul Memorial Hospital came into existence. One month later, the Auxiliary was formed by Sister Cordelia Lonergran, OSB. There was a call for volunteers to lend a hand providing the simple needs of the hospital. In the 122 years following, the Auxilians have volunteered diligently to provide comfort, equipment and amenities, not only to the hospital, but also to all it serves. This could not have happened by one or two individuals; it took many who dedicated their efforts through time and energy to achieve the Auxiliary’s goals. At one time, there were hundreds of people, women and men, who selflessly provided their talents to support the hospital.

Penn Highlands Elk

In the beginning, the Auxiliary started with a mission, namely to render service to the hospital and its patients and to assist in promoting the health and welfare of the community through service, education and approved fundraising. Through the years, the Mission Statement has been rearranged, but the significance has remained the same — to be of assistance to the hospital and its patients.

For the first 45 years, the Auxiliary at Andrew Kaul Memorial Hospital worked with the Benedictine sisters; following that they were advised by the CEOs, administrators and presidents for the approval of projects to complete. It is said that in the beginning the Auxiliary would accept food, eggs and sewn items to help support the hospital. As the years progressed, the projects became more sophisticated, although very little is known about the years between the ‘30s and ‘40s.

The ‘50s saw many women gather on the third floor ‘club room’ of the hospital to sew, mend and transform thread bare linens into usable items for the hospital. In later years, their activities were upgraded to a better space in the basement. There is much to be said about these dear people who spent many hours and much talent in support of this project.

Moving forward, the hospital has seen many activities provided through the Auxiliary, most of which have faded in time. Some that come to mind are: the Red Coats, Candy Stripers, the Grey Coats, the Round Table, Hospitality Shop, Mail Service and Gift Cart, Patient Transport, the Resale Shop, children’s tour of the hospital, the video Jon Goes to the Hospital, ‘Dr Fun’ program for the kindergarten children, the Charity Ball and numerous other activities. Today, the Auxiliary continues to hold activities such as uniform sales, the Peppermint Stick Gift Shop, the Remembrance program at Christmas and various raffles throughout the year.

It makes one wonder with all this activity what have they done with all the proceeds. Surgical equipment, items to bring comfort to patients, money toward building completion, needed equipment for departments such as a morcellator for women’s health, new TVs for Pinecrest Manor residents’ newly renovated rooms, scholarships for students in the health field and $250,000 toward the expansion in 2010 are a few of the donations the Auxiliary has made over the years. Most recently, the Auxiliary purchased the tables, chairs and umbrellas for the outside seating of the cafeteria and provided a catered meal by Joey’s Bakery at Christmas for the employees of the hospital and Pinecrest Manor. They also purchase and present Christmas gifts to the residents of Pinecrest Manor.

While the names have changed, the Auxiliary mission and goals remain the same. Over the years the Auxiliary was known as:

  • Elk County General Hospital Auxiliary
  • Andrew Kaul Memorial Hospital Auxiliary
  • Marys Regional Health System Auxiliary
  • Elk Regional Health System Auxiliary
  • Penn Highlands Elk Auxiliary

All of the activities and accomplishments could not have been achieved by a few people. The Penn Highlands Elk Auxiliary needs many people to help. Volunteers can join the Auxiliary as a silent member; others can become a member and help a few hours occasionally in the shop or even become involved in some of the fundraising efforts. As you might imagine, a group beginning in 1902 and volunteering through the ‘30s to the ‘60s, until the present have lost many committed volunteers. The Auxiliary hopes the community has been celebrating its successes over the years and that people would be interested in joining them. The members are eager to see what the future holds for the hospital as the organization continues to promote fundraising to benefit the patients of the hospital and Pinecrest Manor.

If you would like to make a donation and/or become a member, please contact Therese Skrzypek, 763 Johnsonburg Road, St. Marys, PA 15857