Houlton Pioneer Times

Houlton Rotarians apprised on Health Services Foundation

HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton Rotary Club met for its luncheon meeting on Monday, Oct. 1. 

Rotarian Rob Moran hosted his guest speaker Rotarian Lori Weston, who is the director of the Health Services Foundation at Houlton Regional Hospital. This is a non-profit, public charity that exists to support excellence in health care through the solicitation and administration of gifts to support the programs, equipment and education needs of non-profit health care providers in the region.

Weston said she feels privileged to be a part of what the Foundation does and how it contributes to the overall health and welfare of the local community. She is inspired by those who preceded her and she named Peg Hammond, Paula Gendron, Phillip Hand and Elizabeth Dulin.

In the early 1900’s local visionaries determined that the health care of the communities was dependent on having local hospitals and physicians dedicated to serving the health care needs of those living in our rural areas. Two hospitals located in Houlton served those needs: The Madigan Memorial Hospital and the Aroostook General Hospital. In 1972 local visionaries determined that changing health care regulations might damage their autonomy and that the people in this region should enjoy the same quality of health care services available to people residing in more urban areas. As a result of their tireless efforts, the two local hospitals merged to become The Houlton Regional Hospital.

As health care continued to change, hospital regulations were threatening to divert charitable gifts without regard to a donor’s intent and the entire history and tradition of Houlton’s health system, based on philanthropy and volunteerism could be challenged. In 1983, visionaries created the Houlton Regional Health Services Foundation. This is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors representative of the business and local community members with ex-officios from KVHC, the East Grand Health Center and Houlton Regional Hospital.

In 1997, the Foundation began a five-year campaign to create a $500,000 self-perpetuating endowment fund for the newly created Center for Community Health Education. The Education Center is used by area business, local schools and regional colleges and it provides a space for learning with educational classes and meetings.

Planned giving and various specific campaigns over the years have provided critically needed equipment to the hospital departments. Examples would be digital mammography for radiology, nuclear medicine imaging, an ultrasound with 3-D capability, a coagulation analyzer and gas range for the dietary department and Rotary’s recent funding of a new ECG machine for OB that replaces an outdated piece of equipment that was given to the hospital secondhand from EMMC 25 years ago.

The Foundation’s next big fundraiser coming up in November is the Festival of Trees Event at the hospital. For more information the Foundation can be reached at 521-2147 or at www.healthservicesfoundation.org.

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