As a volunteer at Western Maryland Hospital Center for about 10 years, Barbara "Barb" Jacob knew Linn Hendershot and his passion for helping the patients there. Some were there for short rehabilitation stints, while for others it was home.
Hendershot, who was in a wheelchair most of his adult life, was a resident at the hospital center for 14 months while recovering from bronchial pneumonia, then worked there as director of communications from 1998 until his death in May 2008.
As such, he had a concern for the needs of the patients and residents there. Jacob, who is president of the Western Maryland Hospital Center Auxiliary, and a small committee have been busy planning a basket bingo named in Linn's honor.
The Second Annual Linn Hendershot Memorial Basket Bingo is Sunday, March 27, at the Williamsport Fire Hall.
Hendershot wanted an annual fundraiser that would ensure there would always be enough money to throw a Christmas Eve gala for the hospital center residents and purchase them gifts from their wish lists. He and volunteer Mary Besecker, whom Hendershot had helped with fundraising efforts for MiHi, or Many Individuals Helping Individuals, were in the midst of planning the basket bingo when Hendershot died.
Besecker said Hendershot's death really hit her hard. She said she had started the Christmas party more than a decade ago, and they had been "shopping buddies" and purchased the residents' Christmas gifts together.
She took some time to grieve before she could honor her promise to him to organize the basket bingo. Besecker got the auxiliary's support as sponsors of the event, and the first basket bingo was a huge success, despite the down economy.
For the second one, Besecker has done the marketing and shifted much of the organizing to the auxiliary. Jacob and her committee have been seeking sponsors and donations and will be assisted by hospital center staff members on the day of the event.
"It's well supported, I think because of Linn. So many in the community knew him," Jacob said.
There will be 25 games of bingo, with each game winner receiving a new Longaberger basket that is filled and wrapped.
The grand prize raffle is worth $3,000 and includes a flat-screen TV from Spicher's on a Longaberger entertainment center with four large baskets. There are more than 50 door and loser prizes.
Lunch will be served, and there will also be tip jars, as well as sales of candy and soda.
"It's a lot of work, but it's worth it. We have a lot of fun," Jacob said.
Thoughts of the event bring Jacob back to the starting point.
"Linn — he was such a great, great person."
The auxiliary's fundraising efforts, which also include canteen sales and a yard sale in April, not only pay for the Christmas celebration, but also help purchase equipment for the patients, as well as monthly events.
"All the work of the auxiliary is for the benefit of our patients, from a large piece of equipment to the smallest interaction a patient might need," said Cindy Pellegrino, chief executive officer of the Western Maryland Hospital Center.
"We love it. We really do. We get to know the patients and love them," Jacob said.
Jacob, who lives in Maugansville, also volunteers at Hagerstown Community College and for the Washington County Commission on Aging. In addition, she is volunteer coordinator for the Maryland Theatre concessions and Triad of Washington County.
Tickets are $30 or two for $50, which includes a lunch catered by Leiters. Doors open at 11 a.m., with lunch served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and bingo starting at 1 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling 301-745-4650.