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Hospital honors women’s guild origins | NOTABLE

February 14, 2013 · Updated 2:14 PM
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At the plaque dedication are WGH Foundation President Bert Speir along with a member of the hospital district board of commissioners, Anne Tarrant, WGH Auxiliary incoming President Nancy Fey and WGH CEO Tom Tomasino. / Photo courtesy of Whidbey General Hospital

In 1957, a group of women formed the North Whidbey Women’s Hospital Guild, which eventually led to the creation of a great number of additional guilds up and down Whidbey Island with a singular purpose in mind — to get a hospital built on Whidbey Island.

This original group, commonly referred to as “The Parent Guild,” worked from 1957 to 1970, generating the community support that eventually led to the opening of Whidbey General Hospital on March 8, 1978.

Through a collaborative effort among the WGH Foundation, the WGH Auxiliary and hospital leadership, those women were honored with a memorial plaque and dedication ceremony Jan. 31. In the center of the plaque is a large heart inscribed with the names of the original Parent Guild members who began the fundraising marathon that led to the opening of WGH.

Once the Parent Guild accomplished its mission and the hospital was built, its changed the name to the WGH Auxiliary and has continued to support WGH through volunteerism and fundraising for the last 42 years. Surrounding the heart are plates for engraving the names of Auxiliary members who have passed away.

“We, the hospital and our community at large owe a great debt of gratitude to these visionary and hard-working women,” said Tom Tomasino, hospital CEO. He quoted Margaret Mead in that we should, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” He went on to say that “the names on this plaque represent such a group who forever changed the lives of thousands of citizens in our community. Today we honor their memory and our history with this dedication.”

- Trish Rose, Whidbey General Hospital

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