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Volunteers carry on tradition of giving as WellSpan York Hospital Auxiliary celebrates 125 years

May 18, 2021

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In 2012, Barb Linder was surprised to learn that a volunteer award was named on her behalf to honor her longtime commitment to WellSpan.

In 2012, Barb Linder was surprised to learn that a volunteer award was named on her behalf to honor her longtime commitment to WellSpan.

As the WellSpan York Hospital Auxiliary recently celebrated its 125th anniversary, it’s hard to overlook the more than $7M it has generated in pledges and donations.

However, those contributions which have helped advance and fund innovations to promote health and wellness in the York community wouldn’t have been possible without the countless hours from the Auxiliary’s volunteers.

Barbara Linder, a longtime Auxiliary board member and past president, is a testament to that and why the organization named a volunteer award on her behalf to honor her longtime commitment to WellSpan.

While she can humbly write several chapters highlighting the dedication from those that served the mission past and present, she summed up the key to the Auxiliary’s longevity with one word, “adapt.”

“The Auxiliary is an amazing organization that has responded to the needs of this organization through name changes, different management and community needs for 125 years,” said Linder, who served on the board from 1986 through 2003, and has played a key role on the Auxiliary’s grants committee ever since.

Linder’s influence still resonates with the current board members who have carried the torch into another century of giving.

“Barb’s impact can certainly be felt throughout the WellSpan organization in so many ways.  She is an inspiration to me as well as many others,” said Christi Brown, senior director of volunteer engagement at WellSpan Health. “Her continued support is a true testament to how much she believes in WellSpan’s mission.”

Added Tamara Scott, president of the WellSpan York Hospital Auxiliary, “She’s been the voice of reason. You can always tell the passion she has for the York community.”

Linder paramount to Auxiliary’s impact

In 2012, Brown said she brought the idea of The Barbara Linder Honorary Volunteer Award to the Auxiliary and it was perfect timing since members were looking for a creative way to celebrate her 75th birthday.

“We actually invited Barb to what she thought was just a regular meeting, but we invited her kids to join us and we surprised her with telling her about the award.  It was a truly wonderful moment,” Brown recalled.

This award recognizes York County volunteers that have retired and put in at least 10 years of service or a minimum of 2,500 hours. According to Brown, 75 members have already been inducted into the honorary volunteer status.

Volunteering is a way of life for Linder and her connection with the Auxiliary has always been extra special.

“Volunteering brings greater rewards than one can ever give and it has been an honor to support an excellent, innovative healthcare system of a longstanding tradition,” Linder said.

Furthering the mission

Since 2019, the Auxiliary completed the largest pledge of $1,000,000 to the Emergency Department for the Behavioral Health Unit area at WellSpan York Hospital and pledged $500,000 to the WellSpan York Cancer Center for the “Sunshine Corner Café” which will open this year.

The Auxiliary also has a longstanding educational presence in the York community including Children’s Wellness Days and the Geneva Freeman Scholarship, awarded annually to a graduating high school senior that meets certain volunteer requirements and is pursing post-secondary education in a healthcare field.

“The WellSpan York Hospital Auxiliary represents the strong partnership between the York community and its hospital.  Through its remarkable history, the Auxiliary voluntarily supported its hospital both through its deeds and financially,” said Keith Noll, WellSpan’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for the Auxiliary, which recently cancelled its signature fundraising event, The Book Nook Bonanza, for a second straight year and has also been forced to reimagine other ways to serve the York community.

In lieu of The Book Nook Bonanza, the Auxiliary will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a basket raffle. Click here for details about how to participate in this year's raffle.

“We’ve been able to weather the storm thanks to a great group of members and we continue to welcome spirited, civic-minded volunteers to join us as we continue to support York Hospital and this wonderful community,” Scott said.

For information on how you can support the WellSpan York Hospital Auxiliary’s mission or become a volunteer: https://www.wellspan.org/about/volunteer-engagement/york-hospital-auxiliary/