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Sequim-Dungeness Hospital Guild gifts exceed $1.5 million

Sequim-Dungeness Hospital Guild was started in 1970 when, as publicity chairman for the group Robin Sciortino puts it, “10 younger wives of older retired men decided they were tired of a life of leisure.”

Their goal was to provide medical necessities to the community that the city couldn’t afford. They started out small with bake sales and raffles, and in 1977 opened the doors of their thrift shop, located at 204 W. Bell St. The thrift shop makes up the bulk of the guild’s earnings. They also gather money though donations and member dues. Members of the guild are asked to work two three-hour shifts at the thrift shop each month. They all are volunteers.

“It’s a very high-end, upscale thrift shop,” said Jean Janis, the guild’s president. A lab technician, Janis became a member of the group four years ago. “I really liked it. It was quite beneficial to the city.”

Since the guild was created, the group has been able to donate more than $1.5 million toward medical and health care needs within the community, with donations going to Olympic Medical Center, Clallam County’s Fire District 3 and medical scholarships to students enrolled in nursing and pre-med studies. The guild began donating to the fire district in 1982.

“There’s all sort of things the guild has done for us,” said District 3 Fire Chief Steve Vogel. This includes five aid cars, an ambulance, a Jaws of Life for rescues, cardiopulmonary resuscitation mannequins, heart monitors, a defibrillator and most recently Hal, a computerized mannequin that is used in training firefighters and emergency medical technicians. The mannequin is able to simulate hundreds of different emergency scenarios and therefore better improve the knowledge of District 3’s staff.

“Some of these guys could’ve been working four or five years without seeing some of these scenarios,” said Vogel. “I think Hal’s going to be a ‘brow-sweater’ for some of them.”

Originally the district had asked the guild to finance only some of Hal’s costs but the guild was able to pay the entire bill, some $29,000.

The guild in its many years also has donated nearly $500,000 to Olympic Medical Center, providing everything from monitoring equipment for cardiac rehabilitation, to birthing rooms and bassinets.

The guild gives $25,000 in scholarships every year.

Today the guild has 94 active members (that is members who volunteer at the thrift shop) and 45 associate volunteers. Dues for regular members are $5, while dues for associate members are $15. According to Janis, new memberships come in spurts.

“I like that when I’m driving behind an ambulance it says, ‘Sponsored by the Sequim-Dungeness Hospital Guild,’” said Janis when asked of the guild’s greatest accomplishments.

For more information regarding the guild, call 683-7044. The thrift shop is located at 204 W. Bell St. and is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and the first Saturday of each month.

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