Local News

Guild Celebrates 65 years

This year, the hospital guild for Thayer County Health Services celebrates their sixty-fifth anniversary.
To mark this milestone, here are a few quick statistics on what they have accomplished.
Annually the guild purchases around $40,000 in medical equipment for the hospital and clinic. To date, they have provided more than $700,000 in support for Thayer County Health Services and have given more than $25,000 in educational assistance to students in Thayer County pursuing a career in healthcare.
From an original membership of 31, the guild now has almost 500 members throughout Thayer County. In 2014, they had over 172 different volunteers helping cover the shop hours at Things and Stuff and another 32 volunteers working in the hospital gift shop.
But how did the guild get to be so successful? To understand this, we need to look at the history of the guild. It began on a Friday afternoon, May 26, 1950, when 31 ladies from
various organizations in the county held a meeting in the Court House Club Room. This group decided to organize a “guild” to volunteer at the hospital in Thayer County. Initially
their role was to mend hospital linens, visit and read to patients and some
ladies canned garden products for winter use.
The guild held four general meetings a year in the different towns to discuss ways they could get involved in helping the hospital. Because of limited funds, the guild started holding a fall bake sale, did a bazaar booth at the county fair and had gifts for sale in a cupboard located in the hospital lobby.
When the Hospital had an emergency, guild members would assist with tray service, answering telephones and helping with visitors.
When the tornado struck Hebron in 1953, the guild was there to provide assistance. They purchased a generator to supply emergency lighting to the hospital. They even purchased new curtains and bedspreads for the patient rooms. By 1960, the members of the guild were starting to realize their role was changing. More disposable and pre-sterilized supplies were being used in hospitals, so less mending was needed. Also because of new regulations from the Food and Drug administration, the guild could no longer provide canned produce to the hospital.
Because of their changing role, the guild revised their constitution in 1965. They became more of an
advocate for the hospital instead of just volunteers. In 1966, when the county was voting on whether or not to build a new hospital, the guild sent out correspondence to local residents. They were very involved in encouraging everyone to vote in favor of building a new hospital. When construction began on the new hospital in 1967, the guild realized they needed to do more to raise funds in support of the hospital. That year they held a county-wide rummage sale they called “Things and Stuff.” The success of this sale led to the guild opening their “Things and Stuff” shop on the second fl oor of the bank building in downtown Hebron. The guild opened its shop every Thursday and it was staffed by
volunteers from around the county. In 1968, the guild planted a small pine tree outside the hospital. Local residents could give a donation in memory of a loved one and the guild
would place a colored light on the tree. This was the beginning of the guild’s “Lights of Love” memorial tree displayed each year during the Christmas season in the hospital.
Starting in 1976, the guild began to meet monthly instead of four times a year. This became necessary because
they were now purchasing more expensive equipment for the hospital.
By 1986 the guild decided that in order to increase sales, they needed to move their shop to the ground floor level. Initially they used the Skogmos building during the warmer months and in the fall they moved everything back upstairs for the winter months.
Then in 1988, the Skogmos building sold so they moved their shop to the Mitchell building.
Later that same year the Mitchell building sold. This led to the Guild voting to buy the Bethscheider building where the Things and Stuff shop is currently located. With the help of
their husbands and other volunteers, the guild opened their Things and Stuff shop in their new location in November, 1988. Fixtures for the shop were secured from other stores
going out of business. With the store on ground level, the Guild was able to open the shop all day on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and on
Saturday mornings. To staff the shop requires many volunteers. Each town has a contact person to schedule workers on their assigned days. Each week, 14 volunteers from the different towns in the county help cover the shop’s
hours of operation. In addition, there are other volunteers working throughout the week in the back to sort and price the items donated to go out front for sale.
Since the beginning, there has been strong support for the guild. Every patient and employee at Thayer County Health Services has benefited from the work done by the guild.
In May 1998, Nancy Fintel wrote a newspaper article about the guild for the Hastings Tribune. In it, she quoted Dr. Bauhard as saying, “The work of the guild is very important because it gets people in the community involved in supporting the hospital. Through the guild’s efforts, many items and equipment have been purchased that give better quality of care, convenience and comfort to our patients. The guild’s contributions lend support to the hospital and upgrades the services offered.”

Leave a Reply