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Auxiliaries make seniors' wishes come true

December 21, 1997

Auxiliaries make seniors' wishes come true

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

Residents of Garlock Manor Nursing Home in Hagerstown can expect to have their stockings filled on Christmas Eve thanks to members of a local women's group, who decided to play Santa for all 37 residents this year.

It's the second year that the Western Enterprise Fire Co. No. 4 Ladies Auxiliary, numbering about a dozen members, has taken on a holiday project, said auxiliary secretary Sandy Tressler.

The group has used special "basket bingos" - in which popular Longaberger baskets are given as prizes - to raise money for its holiday and other special projects, Tressler said.

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Last holiday season, the group adopted a large West End family that was having a tough time but wasn't receiving any assistance. The auxiliary's goal was to give the family whatever it needed to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, she said.

"Everything was provided, from the stockings to the gifts to the meal. We sort of went in and set up a Christmas village," said Gloria Schaffer, chairwoman of fund-raising.

This year, group members decided to help brighten the holidays for nursing home residents, Schaffer said.

They picked Garlock Manor after finding out that a group that befriended residents in past years had disbanded, she said.

While the auxiliary spent about the same amount on each resident, gifts were catered to individual wish lists, Schaffer said.

Requested items included sewing supplies, crochet needles, stationery, lotions, perfumes, baseball caps and clothing, she said.

The group brought the wrapped presents to the nursing home on Thursday night, when members co-hosted a holiday party for residents with members of Antietam Fire Co.'s ladies auxiliary. The Antietam group supplied the punch and cookies, entertainment and a visit from Santa Claus, Tressler said.

The presents won't be distributed to residents until Christmas Eve, when nursing home workers will deliver them to their rooms during the night, she said.

Next month, the group will donate about $150 worth of puzzles, storybooks, coloring and activity books and crayons to Washington County Hospital to entertain children in the operating room waiting area, Schaffer said.

A building fund committee, made up of fire company and auxiliary members, sponsors a weekly bingo game on Saturday nights. Part of the proceeds are returned to the community, said fire company president Jim Schaffer.

Money has been used to sponsor sports teams in Hagerstown's West End, purchase playground equipment for Winter Street Elementary School and to help various local charities, Schaffer said.

"It's through the dedication of our bingo players that come every Saturday night. Without them, we couldn't be doing any of this," Schaffer said.

"We get a lot of support from the people in our area. I think a fire company should give back to the community. They should be helping in whatever they can," said Gloria Schaffer.

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