ST. PAUL - It was a sold-out affair on Saturday night at the St. Paul Rec. Centre and thousands of dollars were raised to purchase crucial healthcare equipment to be used at the St. Therese-St. Paul Healthcare Centre.
While a final tally has yet to be calculated, a sold-out 50/50 draw, and a sold-out crowd, combined with live auction and silent auction items bringing in cash, means the St. Paul & District Hospital Foundation’s gala was without a doubt a money-making affair.
The gala was the first held since the March 2020 fundraiser, with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down large gatherings for the first time within weeks of the event taking place.
On Saturday night, foundation chair Noreen Brousseau was all smiles as she welcomed guests.
Speaking to the crown, Brousseau acknowledged that she missed everyone very much over the past few years. She also thanked the community for supporting the event, noting that every contribution is “given in kindness.”
Town of St. Paul Mayor Maureen Miller was also among those who addressed the crowd, describing the volunteers with the hospital foundation as a “true gift,” and acknowledging the “enormous impact” they have made on enhanced patient care at the hospital.
She encouraged attendees to “give generously.”
County of St. Paul Glen Ockerman reiterated many of Millers thoughts. He further noted that “as Albertans, we know what it means to come together.”
In this case, the community pulls together to fill a need when provincial funding is not available. He described the hospital foundation as a “true cornerstone of our community.”
While she’s still relatively new to the community, site manager at the St. Paul hospital, Jamie Malone, was also on hand to speak and introduce herself. Malone began working at the hospital in January.
She says she’s been greeted with open arms since coming to St. Paul and is grateful for the support and welcome she’s received.
Malone said her goal is to ensure the local hospital is a place where all people can feel safe. She also noted that the facility is filled with wonderful and skilled health care providers.
She also noted that recruitment and retention of health care workers is top of mind, and the biggest challenge for many rural communities is finding and keeping trained staff.
Dr. Francis Adebayo, chief of staff with the St. Therese Healthcare Centre took the opportunity on Saturday night to acknowledge all the healthcare workers who worked through the pandemic.
“It was a difficult time,” said Adebayo. He also requested a moment of silence for those who are no longer with us.
Adebayo pointed out that the St. Paul hospital was one of just a few in the province that never had to shut its doors to patients during the pandemic.
He also took the opportunity to speak about the hospital itself, noting it is an aging facility and likely among the oldest hospitals in the province. Yet, healthcare workers manage to give care to patients in need.
Adebayo encouraged residents to speak to government representatives and he is hopeful that one day, a new hospital will be built in the community.
“We’re strategically placed in the Lakeland region,” he noted, adding, it’s very important to keep services running in St. Paul.
Adebayo also thanked the foundation for all the work they continue to do.
“I know we’re not going to be disappointed tonight,” said Adebayo, as he encouraged people to spend freely and donate to the cause.
Presentations from a handful of organizations donating thousands of dollars to the foundation also took place Saturday night, along with a presentation to the family of Andy Jubinville. Jubinville passed away in October of 2020. He had been a strong supporter of the work done by the foundation and regularly offered his time and talents as the gala auctioneer.
Jubinville’s wife, Donna-Fay and their son, Justin, accepted a gifted print from the foundation.
This year, included in the medical equipment the foundation plans to purchase are anesthetic carts for the operating room, a portable ultrasound, neonatal resuscitation cart, cardiac monitor, pediatric code card, air mattresses for long-term care, and exercise stress test equipment. The list of equipment amounts to over $100,000.