In 1955, three years before Washington Hospital opened its doors, a group
of civic-minded local women met to consider how they could help in the
effort to bring a community hospital to Washington Township Health Care
District in Southern Alameda County.
By 1958, this small group of volunteers had raised $15,000 for the hospital
effort. In organizing and energizing a group of community volunteers,
those few women gave birth to a major institution: the Washington Hospital
Service League, still active today — 60 years later — with
more than 500 men and women, including high school and college students,
supporting the hospital in numerous ways from fundraising to greeting
patients and visitors.
The committed volunteers of the Washington Hospital Service League will
be honored at a special 60th Anniversary luncheon on Tuesday, October
13. All past and current Service League volunteers are encouraged to attend
and to celebrate the impressive accomplishments of these past 60 years.
Special guests will include former Service League presidents.
Service League President Debbie Jackson urged all present and past volunteers
to join in the luncheon celebration.
“This event is a tribute to the past 60 years of volunteers who have
given of themselves to our community while enhancing the lives of our
patients, their families and friends,” she added. “The luncheon
is an opportunity to walk down memory lane and reunite with old friends
as well as making new ones.”
The celebration will be held in The Tent at Washington West, 2500 Mowry
Avenue, Fremont, with a reception from 11 a.m. to noon and the luncheon
and program from noon to 2 p.m. Complimentary valet parking will be provided.
Service League volunteers provide thousands of hours of assistance to the
hospital each year. With almost 2 million hours of volunteer service logged
during the 60 years, the Service League also has raised and donated more
than $2.4 million for various hospital needs, and over $300,000 in student
scholarships for those pursuing health careers.
In the beginning, Service League volunteers, known as “pink ladies”
for the pink uniforms they wore, operated the lobby desk and gift shop.
They ran a rummage shop and were the first group to support the Morris
Hyman Critical Care Pavilion, which is currently under construction, with
a donation of $300,000.
Service League volunteers can be found wherever one looks in the Hospital.
Their duties and responsibilities range far and wide. In addition to raising
funds and operating the gift shop, volunteers help discharge patients,
keep concerned friends and family of patients updated on the condition
of loved ones, provide emotional support to patients and assist staff
with feeding some patients. Volunteers cuddle newborns in the Special
Care Nursery and staff the Community Health Resource Library.
Reservations for the 60th Anniversary Luncheon may be obtained by contacting
Washington Hospital Volunteer Services at (510) 791-3465. Past presidents
and current adult volunteers are invited to the 60th Anniversary Luncheon
as guests of Washington Hospital. Past volunteers are invited to attend
the luncheon for $10.
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of six articles about
the history and accomplishments of the Washington Hospital Service League.
Future articles will focus in more detail on specific programs and accomplishments.