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Service League to Celebrate 60th Anniversary

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.