It’s Not Just About Knitting Baby Blankets

January 4, 2013



Mercy Hospital Washington Auxiliary is led by a group of area residents with a

loyalty to patient care and Mercy’s Healing mission. Pictured from left are

Ruth Engemann, outgoing president, new President Carol Maune and

former President Nancy Redhage, who serves as a liaison with

the Missouri Association of Hospital Auxiliaries.

WASHINGTON, Mo. – After retiring from a 35-year nursing career, Carol Maune has returned to Mercy Hospital Washington to lead the Auxiliary and she wants to shake things up a bit. 

“The auxiliary does amazing work and has for decades, but it’s time for a change, because times have changed, and the hospital and our patients need us to change with them,” said Maune. “We’re going to find new and exciting ways to fundraise and expand our membership, always with the objective of supporting the hospital’s healing mission.”

Since 1955, the auxiliary at Mercy Hospital Washington has been working in support of the hospital. It raises money to help the hospital provide programs and services. To raise money, the auxiliary does everything from holding bake sales and knitting baby blankets to hosting elegant dinners. Its single biggest fundraising project to date was pledging $250,000 toward the emergency department expansion. The newly expanded and remodeled emergency department opened in December 2011. The auxiliary was one of the capital campaign’s largest contributors.

“The pledge for the emergency department proved that the auxiliary is capable of raising money for significant projects, and we should be looking at what we could be achieving,” said Maune. “Once the emergency department pledge is paid in full next year, we’ll work with hospital administrators to see if we can help with another major fundraising project.” 

Maune brings a new perspective to the 185-member auxiliary having spent her career as a staff nurse and nurse supervisor. Originally from Hermann, she moved to Washington when she started working at what was then St. Francis Hospital. She saw the construction of the current Mercy Hospital Washington and its growth since then. She’s also seen advances in medical technologies and knows the needs of patients – and what the auxiliary may be best suited to help them with.

During the last decade of Maune’s nursing career, she started giving her spare time to the auxiliary, because she wanted to give back to the place that had blessed her with a career that had allowed her to care for others. “I am a caregiver. That was why I became a nurse,” Maune said. “I love patients, and I’m a patient advocate. As a nurse I did all I could to ensure they received the best possible care, and as a member of the Auxiliary, it’s my mission to continue pursing what’s best for patients.”      

Maune has set goals for her presidential term. Those goals range from increasing membership to creating new and exciting ways to fundraise. That may entail finding new products to sell and new events to host as well as seeing more auxilians out in the community to engage the public.

The first order of business for Maune is appointing members to committees that will work toward creating fresh ideas. But they won’t be alone in that mission. The auxiliary is part of the Missouri Association of Hospital Auxiliaries (MAHA), which is 84-hospitals strong. Membership provides access to a network of ideas. Washington also has a liaison in one of MAHA’s executives. Former Auxiliary president and lifetime member Nancy Redhage serves as a MAHA vice president. She has served on that board for 5 years.  

“Although the mission is the same, hospital auxiliaries are changing, and we have to be more creative about the work we do,” said Redhage. “Membership with both organizations allows me to share the best ideas with members in Washington and across the state.”  

The auxiliary is accepting new members. Members contribute as much time as they want and work on the projects that interest them the most. Some members do sewing and craft projects at home, help with one event a year, work in the hospital gift shop or donate time to work at various fundraisers. Many options are available. For more information, call 636-239-8044.

“As a member of the auxiliary, you can be part of a support system to provide the best possible health care in your community and make a difference in peoples’ lives,” said Maune. “Another great thing is that you determine how much time you want to give. You can give a little or you can give a lot. The important thing is that you’re giving something, and that’s a wonderful contribution to your spirit and to the recipients of your good work.”  

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