Hospital Auxiliary celebrates volunteering milestone

Merna Emara
Staff Writer

The Fort Frances Hospital Auxiliary is celebrating the services provided by Marg Kircher, 89, and Eloise Camirand, 90, who have volunteered at the auxiliary for 50 years.

Kircher and Camirand have volunteered for 50 years at the Hospital Auxiliary, out of a desire of meet new people and serve their community.

The Hospital Auxiliary was formed in 1952 with the goal of raising funds and offering services to patients. According to the website, the auxiliary has raised $1.3 million towards purchasing equipment for the hospital.

Both Camirand and Kircher started out by taking the goodie cart to the wards where they sold chocolates and bars.

Camirand said the job she liked the best was delivering the carts.

“Sometimes you did not make money, but we were there and available for whatever they wanted,” Camirand said. “You always made somebody smile.”

Camirand then took on an executive role, working on the strawberry socials and looking for people to help with the tag days.

“I also did the newsletter,” Camirand added. “Then I took over finding people to deliver the newsletter. I did that for eight years. I went to all their conventions and conferences. I made baby bags and I had to find people to knit bonnets for it.”

Camirand said volunteering has always been a rewarding experience. The only challenging part, she said, was when she was in charge of getting people to work on different tasks, but members helped her and everybody worked well together in the end.

“I always figure that someday I might need help. If I help others, then they might be available to help me. We did the Meals on Wheels for years. Rainycrest made up the meals and we delivered them, and it was rewarding.”

Kircher’s initial involvement with the auxiliary was baking for special events.

“I was a secretary for a couple of years,” Kircher said. “I was director of communications for the newsletter and planning meetings. Then I started working in the gift shop.”

Although Kircher has never had retail experience, she took over managing the gift shop in 2000 until 2013.

“It was a learning experience for me too,” Kircher said. “We were lucky back then. We did not have all the technology. The sales people would come to town and we would sit down with them and discuss.”

Kircher’s passion was and still is meeting new people and volunteering gave her the opportunity to do that while serving her community.

“I always liked to be doing something. It was a nice way of participating when we did things. I worked at the strawberry social forever. I was always in charge of set up and take down. Our job was to decorate it and get it all set up. I was in charge of that for 18 years,” Kircher said. “It’s important to give time to your community because that’s how we progress. It’s how we can get together.”