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Washington Hospital Service League Turns 60

A grassroots campaign that was originally organized to raise funds to purchase medical equipment for a proposed new community hospital has grown over the past 60 years into an efficient and effective community organization called the Washington Hospital Service League.

In 1958, the growing Washington Hospital Service League presented Washington Hospital trustees with $15,000 they had raised by running the Cheery Budget Shop, a rummage store filled with used household and clothing items.

In February 2015, the Service League reported that over the past 60 years, the organization had donated a total of $2,429,407.68 to the health care system for a wide variety of important projects and programs. Additionally, Service League volunteers have contributed almost 2 million volunteer hours to the Hospital.

The Washington Hospital Service League is also always first to the table with contributions, says Angus Cochran, executive director of the Washington Hospital Foundation. “They were first in 1958 to help the Hospital and again in 2006 with a $300,000 gift to the Critical Care Campaign, which raised funds to equip the Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion, currently under construction.”

To celebrate the Washington Hospital Service League’s long history and invaluable contributions to the Hospital and the community, a special 60th Anniversary luncheon will be held 12 noon – 2 p.m. (11 a.m. reception) on Tuesday, October 13, in the Tent at Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont. All past and current Service League volunteers are encouraged to attend to celebrate the impressive accomplishments of these past 60 years. Special guests will include former Service League presidents.

Through the years, Service League volunteers have raised funds through a wide variety of initiatives including the following:

  • Hospital’s gift shop
  • A coffee shop in the early years
  • Fashion shows and dinner dances
  • Sales from the canteen vending machine
  • Memorials and donations to the scholarship fund
  • Bridge marathons
  • Commissions from newborn baby photos
  • $5 Masquerade jewelry sales

Over the years, the Service League’s donations have funded more than 130 different medical and educational needs of the Hospital. The largest donation has been $300,000 for the Critical Care Campaign, which was paid in installments between 2006 and 2010.

Other important contributions by the Service League include:
1963 — the volunteers presented a $10,000 check to the Washington Township Health Care District Board of Directors to help open an intensive care unit at Washington Hospital. This was the first intensive care unit established west of the Mississippi River in a non-teaching hospital.

1973 — a $35,000 donation contributed greatly to the establishment of a Renal Dialysis Center at Washington Hospital. The establishment of this unit eased the burden on local hemodialysis patients who previously had to drive as far as Oakland, San Francisco or Palo Alto for treatment.

1984 — the Service League donated $15,000 to the new Washington Radiation Oncology Center and an additional $30,000 in matching funds for a new patient treatment-planning computer for the Center. The Center was established to provide cancer patients in need of radiation treatment with convenient local care and the same technology available at Stanford University, all available at Washington Hospital.

  • 1985 — $43,070 for labor and delivery beds and four telemetry monitors
  • 1989 — $25,000 for fetal heart monitors, $8,000 for emergency room equipment
  • 1992 — $13,150 for a full-body hydrotherapy and burn tank for Occupational Therapy
  • 1995 — $40,100 for the Health Resource Library, which provides health information to community members
  • 1998 — $43,000 to purchase a disaster tent and all the necessary supplies to provide medical care after a major disaster
  • 2010 — $70,000 for a stress fracture table for one of the operating rooms
  • 2013 — $55,000 to purchase nine beds for the Special Care Nursery

This past year, the Service League donated $60,000 toward the purchase of an Artic Sun Temperature Management System and the partial purchase of intra-aortic balloon pumps. The Artic Temperature Management System precisely manages and controls patient temperature to promote healing. Intra-aortic balloon pumps are a mechanical device that helps the heart pump blood.

Additionally, the Service League has distributed more than $300,000 in scholarships for students in the Washington Township Health Care District who are pursuing studies in a health-related field.

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.