Barnesville Hospital Auxiliary celebrates 70 years of service

As Barnesville Hospital Auxiliary celebrates 70 years of service, an event is being held to commemorate the milestone, On Sunday, May 1, the Auxiliary is hosting a luncheon and fashion show at the Barnesville Elks Lodge. With doors opening at 12:30 p.m., a luncheon of hot chicken sandwiches, ham, pasta salad, vegetable tray, chips, pretzels, fruit and cake will be served, beginning at 1 p.m. With Joe Jeffries serving as Master of Ceremonies, a fashion show will immediately follow. With the assistance of Barnesville Cheerleaders, wedding fashions from the 1940's to present will be modeled.

Many community members do not understand the role of the "Twigs" in the hospital's history. The purpose of the Auxiliary has always been to promote and advance the welfare of Barnesville Hospital through fundraising for various projects designed to improve hospital services and facilities. While the hospital had its inception in a private home in 1928, it was never on a paying basis and closed in 1939.

In 1940, the citizens of the community recognized the need and began efforts to reopen the hospital. Henry Fiechter, a part-time bookkeeper, and a group of 33 women met and formed the Hospital Branch which, in turn, organized the Twigs. The "Twigs", who are the working units of the Hospital Auxiliary, began their work in March 1941. By 1954, the Twigs had grown to over 1,000 women. They were instrumental in obtaining funds for the first addition. The first Twig donation was 25 glasses of jelly from a 4-H Club in 1941. In total, the Twigs raised $36,585.00 for the new building fund. This 1954 building is the portion visible from West Main Street, excluding the Solarium at the southeast corner.

Prior to its dedication on February 5, 1954, volunteers from the Twigs did last minute cleaning and dusting.

Currently, there are 11 "Twigs" which provide financial support to the hospital. The names and location of Twigs include Acorn (Malaga), Buckeye (Bethesda), Cedar (Barnesville), Cottonwood (Bethesda), Cypress (Barnesville), Laurel (Barnesville), Magnolia (Barnesville), Mistletoe (Barnesville), Philodendron (Beallsville), Poplar (Barnesville), and Sugar Berry (Barnesville).

Ruth Anderson, Director of Volunteer Services, said each Twig has its own fundraisers in addition to the auxiliary branch board of Twig fundraisers including the annual golf scramble, book fairs and uniform and bake sales. She said the Twigs are currently saving money for renovations to the hospital emergency room.

Anderson said more Twig members are needed and there are many levels of involvement available for busy, working volunteers.

"We need younger people involved to continue services and help provide up-to-date equipment for the hospital," Anderson said.

Join the Auxiliary for an afternoon of fun with a look back on fashion, while helping to celebrate the Auxiliary's 70 years of service.

Tickets are available from any Twig member or you can purchase at Barnesville Hospital for $10. For additional information, call Chris Mellinger at (740) 425-5106.

For more information about joining a Twig, call Ruth Anderson at 425-5113.