The Beginning: A Legacy of Caring
Few situations can strain a family’s emotional, financial and spiritual resources more than seeking quality medical care far from home. At Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital, providing good help to those in need often means assisting family members while caring for the patient. This is our ministry of hospitality.
In 1997, the St. Mary’s Volunteer Auxiliary recognized a need to provide comfort and care to the families of patients at St. Mary’s Hospital. They knew that patients would heal more effectively and peacefully if their loved ones were nearby. The continuous sleepless nights next to their loved ones takes a great toll on their health. The caregivers needed our help as well!
With the help of St. Mary’s gallant engineering staff, the St. Mary’s Volunteer Auxiliary set forth to create havens of comfort by transforming four small houses on St. Mary’s campus into guest cottages to meet the needs of families who required overnight accommodations.
The guest cottages (Heltzer House, Korn House, Pawson House, and the Volunteers’ House) were named for the donors who provided the funding for the renovations, and they have provided the cornerstone for our ministry of hospitality.
We are grateful to the St. Mary’s Volunteer Auxiliary for its support of our ministry of hospitality. Fifteen years ago, their efforts helped to establish the Guest House program at St. Mary’s. Today, the Volunteer Auxiliary pledged a $300,000 gift, the second largest gift it has ever made to the hospital, to help build the new Evelyn D. Reinhart Guest House, and they have committed to supporting the ongoing operational costs for sustaining this important ministry. They are true partners in philanthropy.
A New House
By 2011, as the services and medical programs of Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital continued to grow and patients traveled further distances to seek specialized care, the need for the guest house program was greater than ever. Thanks to the generosity of The Reinhart Foundation, who provided the $1 million lead gift for the project to honor their wife and mother, Evelyn D. Reinhart, we began planning for a new guest house.
Led by our volunteer fundraising chairs, Nancy Plageman and Carmella Bladergroen, and assisted by St. Mary’s Hospital Volunteer Pam Hacker, fundraising for the project continued. The community embraced this project with open hearts and generous gifts.The response from our physicians, the business community, volunteers, and individual donors was amazing. With $3 million of the $5 million needed for the project pledged, we broke ground on the guest house in May 2013 – the first project in the Bon Secours system funded predominantly by philanthropic dollars.
After about a year of construction, the Reinhart Guest House opened its doors in June 2014. It replaces the guest cottages that so many families have called home over the years and doubles their capacity. Located on the Libbie Avenue side of the St. Mary’s campus, the 14,000-square-foot building has 16 guest rooms and common areas for families to eat, relax, play, work and pray. This home away from home brings patients’ families together in a place where they can experience healing and community together. Physicians, nurses and volunteers help patients and their families navigate the emotional, physical and financial complexities of diagnosis, treatment and care. The Evelyn D. Reinhart Guest House is more than a place to stay. It is truly a home away from home.