New OMC vehicles powered by charity

The Olympic Medical Center Foundation has replaced the hospital laboratory's aging courier fleet with two locally purchased Toyota Scions.

The vehicles were funded by the Feb. 22 Hollywood Nights event presented by First Federal.

"Olympic Medical Center Laboratories has gone from performing just over 325,000 outpatient lab tests in 1999 to more than 1.1 million today," said Bruce Skinner, executive director of the OMC Foundation.

"During those 10 years, the lab has used the same fleet vehicles to travel back and forth to Sequim every weekday and, over time, those vehicles had become less and less reliable.

"We recognized their need for new vehicles to ensure their ability to maintain quality lab services for our community."

Olympic Medical Center Laboratories serves patients throughout the community. Every weekday from 5 a.m.-

7 p.m., the lab retrieves lab specimens throughout Port Angeles and Sequim and delivers them to the main hospital for testing.

Besides scheduled courier routes, the lab retrieves specimens from physician offices on an emergent basis, as needed, when timing is critical. It also transports vital blood products that are shipped through air service from Seattle.

"As of late, our previous lab vehicles had spent more and more time in the auto repair shop when they had been needed to perform important services," said Steve Blackham, director of lab services at OMC.

"Although we have needed new lab vehicles for some time now, we had chosen not to purchase new ones over purchasing other necessary medical equipment. The OMC Foundation stepped in to fill a need that is critical to our service and we are thankful."

At retirement, the lab's old courier vehicles - a GMC Blazer and a Ford Escort - had odometers that averaged more than 200,000 miles.

"Our old cars were workhorses," said Blackham. "They did their job well, but we look forward to a new era of reliability with these new vehicles."

The OMC Foundation purchased the Toyota Scions from Wilder Auto, a local car dealership that employs more than 100 people. Whenever possible, the OMC Foundation purchases products that support the local and national economy.

"We are pleased with our decision to purchase Scions for the hospital and we know they will be reliable cars - a must for such an important service," said Skinner.

The foundation has provided more than $1.5 million to Olympic Medical Center, and endowment funds have produced more than $700,000 in just eight years. This money goes to buy equipment and provide patient services.

Foundation support comes from the volunteers and donors who contribute to the Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Derby, Festival of Trees, Harvest of Hope, Hollywood Nights, the "Red, Set Go!" Women's Heart Luncheon and Team OMC, as well as from planned giving and other donor opportunities.

For more information, call 417-7000 or visit www.olympic

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