Auxiliary has given $200,000 for scholarships

Adele Parrish, left, and Marilyn Decker, right, work in the Mainland Medical Center Auxiliary Gift Shop, which donates profits to COM Foundation for student scholarships.
Adele Parrish, left, and Marilyn Decker, right, work in the Mainland Medical Center Auxiliary Gift Shop, which donates profits to COM Foundation for student scholarships.

Since retiring eight years ago, Jerry Cook has found a new calling – volunteering each week with the Mainland Medical Center Auxiliary.

“Once you’re retired you find yourself lost and you need something to do. You need to interact with people,” said Cook.

Cook, of Hitchcock, is chairman of guest services for the Mainland Medical Center Auxiliary and one of about 60 members. Each volunteer is assigned to a department and works at least four hours per week, including serving as greeters, directing guests or taking a book cart to patients’ rooms.  

“We do work hard, but we enjoy it,” said Cook. “There isn’t one of us who doesn’t enjoy our jobs.”

They also operate the Mainland Medical Center Auxiliary Gift Shop is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, which sells jewelry, candy, stuffed animals and other day-brighteners. The money raised through the shop helps fund scholarships for College of the Mainland Associate Degree Nursing Program and Certified Nursing Aide Program students.  

“Our primary goal is to assist the hospital and provide for nursing students,” said Cook. “We work hard to raise money to give and we’re proud of it.”

They also raise money through donations, bake sales twice a year and selling candy.  

“Sometimes a relative or friend of a patient will donate and say, ‘thank you for being so kind,’” said Kay Hendricks, chairman for new volunteers. “We wanted to support a local college.”

The auxiliary has donated more than $200,000 to COM Foundation since 1998.

One student helped is Laura Prino. After spending two months in the ICU alongside her mother, the COM nursing student found her calling.

“I found my future in a moment of heartache and great loss. I lost my mother at the beginning of this spring semester, who was also a nurse. I spent almost two months in the hospital at her side and I gained a huge amount of respect for the ICU nurses. I hope to become an ICU nurse and make a difference in someone's life, no matter how small, the same way the nurses did for both me and my mom,” said Prino.

“Receiving the Mainland Medical Auxiliary scholarship has allowed me to attend nursing school and give 100 percent to the studying needed to be successful in the program. Knowing that my school fees are taken care of with the scholarship is a huge relief.”

Since 1967 College of the Mainland Foundation has been making a difference in the lives of students. The fundraising arm of the college, the foundation is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Gifts from our alumni, friends, employees, corporations and foundations support and maintain the highest quality of education for our students through scholarships, vital student programs and instructional innovations across campus.

Members of the Mainland Medical Center Auxiliary present a check to College of the Mainland Foundation for scholarships. The auxiliary has given more than $200,000 since 1998 for nursing student scholarships.

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