Have new van, will go

Vehicle donated by Western Maryland Hospital Center Auxiliary will make âEUR~big differenceâEUR(TM) to staff, patients

Vehicle donated by Western Maryland Hospital Center Auxiliary will make âEUR~big differenceâEUR(TM) to staff, patients

April 12, 2007|by JANET HEIM

It's a dream that was more than two years in the making. As Auxiliary President Barb Jacob handed the keys to a custom-ordered van to Cindy Pellegrino, CEO of Western Maryland Hospital Center, thoughts turned to what a difference the gift would make for the lives of the hospital's patients.

"It will make a big difference to her and the lives of her patients," auxiliary member Pauline Howells said of Transportation Coordinator Jan Kendrick.

By luck, the purchase coincided with the hospital's 50th anniversary. The key passing took place March 29.

Kendrick, a registered nurse who has worked at the hospital since 1998, was hired for the newly created position of transportation director almost a year ago. Her job is to make appointments for and accompany patients to nonemergency visits to doctor and dentist appointments and for testing and treatments.

The driving is left to a main driver and a backup driver.


While the hospital already owns a larger passenger van that the auxiliary purchased five to 10 years ago, the new van has features that allow transport of a patient on a stretcher or in a wheelchair.

Prior to the new van purchase, patients not mobile enough to get in the older van were taken to appointments by ambulance.

The new van, which was customized by Mobility Works in Ohio, features a side load for wheelchairs, an electric plug for ventilators, oxygen tank clamps, storage for extra supplies, and automated extended defibrillator, safety rails and a side chair for Kendrick as she tends to patients.

"This has been a vision of the auxiliary for a long time. They made it a dream come true," Kendrick said.

The van arrived in Hagerstown in January and has been personalized with lettering and outside photos of the hospital.

Jacob said the auxiliary was able to purchase the van for about $32,000, through Linn Hendershot's negotiating. It took about two years to raise the money through proceeds from the hospital's canteen and gift shop, soup and sandwich sales and donations.

"Our goal is to be here for the patients and their needs," Jacob said.

Kendrick can't hide her excitement as she highlights the many features of the new van.

"It's like my office," she said with a big grin.

The auxiliary recently purchased new furniture for two day rooms in the hospital and next on their list is the purchase of a gurney to be used in the new van.

"It's a lovely vehicle. That's our goal in life is to raise money for the patients," Howell said.

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