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VCU Health CMH Auxiliary Annual Awards 2018

If you’ve ever been inside a hospital—as a patient, family member, or friend—you’ve probably been assisted by an Auxilian. Perhaps he or she helped you make a selection in the gift shop . . . or gave you directions to a patient’s room . . .  or comforted you as you waited to hear the outcome of a loved one’s surgery. 

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill is fortunate to have the wonderful support of a large team of volunteers through the Hospital's Auxiliary.  VCU Health CMH volunteers provide service, support and good cheer for patients, visitors and staff, and help complete the hospital community.

Perhaps in no other industry is volunteering more vital than in health care.  Each year, these dedicated volunteers make valuable contributions to VCU Health CMH through countless hours of service to patients and the hospital with donations that strengthen health care services for the community. 

The Auxiliary's mission is to advance the welfare of the hospital.  With a membership of 170 members, these dedicated volunteers donated 22,281 hours of service to patients and the hospital over the past year.  

The Auxiliary holds fund-raisers throughout the year to help support its programs and services. Their main source of funds is from the “Fish Bowl” Gift Shop.  Each year, the Auxiliary makes a generous donation to the Hospital on behalf of its fundraising efforts. During their Annual Awards Luncheon held recently, outgoing Auxiliary President, Nancy Bradshaw, reported on their accomplishments for the past year and presented VCU Health CMH CEO, W. Scott Burnette with a $47,000 check. This donation is the third installment of the Auxiliary’s $225,000 pledge to VCU Health CMH’s “Healthcare for Life” capital campaign. 

During the banquet, new officers were installed and members were awarded pins and certificates for the number of hours of service to the hospital.  Also the special “Lou Saunders Award of Excellence” was given.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary 2018/2019 Officers –  Ruth Reams, President; Kenny Pitts, First Vice President; Linda McNabb, Second Vice President; Becky Waters, Treasurer; Nancy Bradshaw, Recording Secretary; Jean Zembower, Corresponding Secretary

Joyce Tudor was awarded the Lou Saunders Award of Excellence, the Auxiliary’s highest honor.  The Lou Saunders award was established in 2010 and named after longtime CMH Auxiliary volunteer, Lou Saunders. Joyce is a past President of the CMH Auxiliary and she currently serves on the Auxiliary Board as Historian and Mecklenburg County Co-Coordinator. Joyce also volunteers at the information desk. She recently served on the CMH Foundation’s Capital Campaign Committee raising funds for the C.A.R.E. Building.

New Auxiliary Members - Bonnie Johnston, Lily Atkinson, Dorothy Minter-Saunders, Will Woodall, Trevor Kidd, Keith Ellis, Tom Watters, Sandra Burch, Mabel Wood, Carolyn Wagoner; NOT PICTURED: Patricia Buebendorf, Judy Echard, Shayna Kendall-Maxey, Sandy Mechalske, Zahra Murtaza, Tammy Oakes, Joyce Bagley Pinkney, Heather Raum, Matthew Rodriguez, Frances Tuck, Richard Watson

6,600 – 13,500 HOURS OF SERVICE – June Meyer, 13,000; Virginia Lucy, 11,000; Sylvia Lambert, 13,500; Anne Cole, 8,300; Lois White, 8,000; Charlene Gray, 8,500; Sandra Gainer, 7,000; NOT PICTURED: Delphine Harris, 6,600; Shirley Carrillo, 10,400

3,300 – 6,400 HOURS OF SERVICE – Marlene Reinders, 4,100; Gerry Nash, 6,400; Ann Gauchat, 6,000; Joyce Tudor, 5,400; Ruth Reams, 4,500; Leanna Jones, 4,200; Barbara Fife, 3,800; Hattie Baird, 3,300; NOT PICTURED: Deborah Wilson, 3,500; Brigitte Eberle, 4,500; Brenda Roberts, 5,400; Shirley Huested, 6,000

2,000 – 3,000 HOURS OF SERVICE – Dorothy Williams, 2,900; Belle Jones, 2,700; Dottie Collins, 2,500; Sylvia Solari, 2,900; Roger Pendergrass, 3,000; Rebecca Waters, 2,500; Nancy Bradshaw, 2,000; Edna Jones, 2,500

1,000 – 1,900 HOURS OF SERVICE – Ann Allman, 1,900; Jean Zembower, 1,500; Janet Morris, 1,500; Pat Adams, 1,500; Gladys Jenerette, 1,100; Larry Minter, 1,900; Mary Werber, 1,300; Ann Jones, 1,200; Kenneth Pitts, 1,000; Brenda Curtis, 1,000; NOT PICTURED: Carmen Cornely-Clarke, 1,100; Mary Carter, 1,500; Sharon Watson, 1,500

500 – 900 HOURS OF SERVICE – Doris Turner, 900; Brenda Cahoon, 600; Ruth Griggs, 700;  Sharon Carter, 500; Linda McNabb, 900; Margaret Waller, 700; Suzanne Creek, 500; Billie Wells, 700; Barbara Heagran, 700; NOT PICTURED: Phyllis Beasley, 600; Dick Smith, 600; Judith Moody, 800; Sadie Simmons, 800; Vicky Walker, 800

100 – 400 HOURS OF SERVICE – Linda Gage, 400; Fran Steiert, 300; Jane Stringer, 200; Clare Williams, 200; Tom Watters, 100; Willis Woodall, 100; Darleen Ferguson, 100; Carolyn Wagoner, 100; Jean Houston, 200; NOT PICTURED: Shari Beale-Hasenmueller, 100; Fannie Echard, 100; Sandy Mechalske, 100; Frances Tuck, 100

Focusing On The Positive Generates Positive Results for SVCC Graduate

Hilton Bennett, 12.5 K up on Mount Royal.  Avid climber, SVCC alum keeps climbing for the top.


According to John W. Gardner, Educator and Secretary of Health Education and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson, “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

There were times in life when Hilton Bennett could have used an eraser.  But since he could not erase some bad choices in his life, he made the best of a bad situation and turned his future around.

Incarcerated in Lunenburg Correctional Center in Victoria, Virginia, Bennett said that the trials he had in life made him rethink his next steps. 

“I could do nothing for the next seven years or I could do something positive,” he said.

Always a good student, he began teaching fellow inmates math, reading and other lessons mainly for something to do.   He enjoyed this positive activity and how it helped to pass the time.   Soon, he caught the attention of Ann Cavan, Regional Principal of the Department of Corrections School, who found him a job in the prison library and allowed him to tutor other inmates.

Southside Virginia Community College partners with the Virginia Department of Corrections to offer the Campus Within Walls program at the Lunenburg facility. The philosophy of the program is “We believe in the transformative power of education because we see it every day! With a college degree, men leaving prison are more likely to get good jobs and earn more money. Men who earn a degree while in prison are almost 50% less likely to return.”

“Within six months, I was enrolled in classes through SVCC,” Bennett said speaking of the program.   

It took about five years to complete his Associate’s degree from SVCC due to the scheduling of needed classes and funding availability.  Two years after his release, Bennett was invited to be the speaker at an SVCC Commencement ceremony at the prison.

Before he was incarcerated, he had a job, a house, a family and was prospering in life.    He said he realizes now that everything has worked out for the best and that he needed to have the experience of prison to arrive where he is today.

He currently holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Product Innovation from VCU’s da Vinci center.  He interns for a Biomedical Engineering firm designing Orthopedic Implants. He plans to start a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Medicine soon. 

In this semester alone, VCU has filed four patents for which he has been the primary engineer on.  These include a device that make the epidural space visible to anesthesiologists and a device that effectually treats the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the Military which is Pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

In another collaboration, Bennett and others are working on a device to prevent the loss of guide-wires during surgery.

“If a wire is left behind, he said, “It’s a risky situation for the patient.  The patient must undergo an additional procedure to have it removed,” he noted.

Bennett said that the team’s current design, a clip with lights and a buzzer, attaches to the wire to serve as a constant reminder to the physician or clinician that the wire is inside the patient’s body. Over the summer, Bennett is working on designing the mold for the device and developing prototypes out of different materials,” according to Invention Seeks to Prevent Wires from Being Left Inside Patients, which appeared on the VCU College of Engineering’s website on August 9, 2017.

In the article, W. Paul Murphy, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology in the VCU School of Medicine, said working with engineers and others outside his field to solve real-world problems has been an exciting experience.

“To have folks like Hilton and Ben Ward say, ‘If you do it this way, the problem could be avoided,’” he said, “that’s been a blast.”

An avid rock climber, Bennett also started his own company in 2016 designing Traditional Climbing Gear for indoor use.

Recently, Bennett was a guest speaker at Vera Institute of Justice Conference held in Detroit, Michigan. The mission of Vera is “to drive change. To urgently build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities.”

Surprisingly, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, and Lisa L. Hudson, SVCC Campus Within Walls Coordinator, were both in the audience.  And, duly proud of one of the college’s own.

Dr. Anne Hayes, formerly Coordinator of Campus Within Walls at SVCC, said, “completing an associate degree served as a ‘reset button’ for Mr. Bennett.  He graduated SVCC with a 4.0.(Grade Point Average)”

Bennett believes education behind bars is key to making it possible for inmates to thrive on the outside.  He knows many who went through the SVCC program with him and have made the successful transition since being released. 

Not only is Bennett making his life better, his diligence and interest in finding solutions to problems that affect others is a great way for him to continue his pursuit of the positive.  

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