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Fairmont Community Hospital Foundation keeps giving

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Community Hospital Foundation celebrated 30 years of giving at its annual meeting Tuesday.

“Since we started 30 years ago, we have raised over $8 million to support local health care,” Julie Elliott, president of the foundation’s board of trustees, told a roomful of donors, board members and guests at the Fairmont Holiday Inn. “Last year, we gave over $125,000 to the hospital to help the staff and enhance the patient experience. That is over double what we were able to give them (in 2017).”

In 2018, the foundation received a $1 million bequest from the Marlin Milbrandt estate, a gift Elliott called phenomenal. It enabled the foundation to boost its endowment fund to more than $4 million in assets. Each year, the foundation awards grants based on 3 percent of a five-year rolling average of the endowment.

Some of the gifts in 2018 included an orthopedics casting table for patients unable to lift themselves up onto a higher exam table, chemo hats provided to cancer patients at no cost, headsets or earbuds so infusion patients can watch television without distracting others with the noise, 60 computer keyboards for nurse’s stations and patient rooms designed to eliminate spaces for unwanted germs to accumulate, six newborn bassinets, and state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment equipment for the eye services center.

Dr. Anna Kitzmann, ophthalmologist at Fairmont Mayo’s eye services center, offered her personal thanks to the foundation for the new equipment. She shared her recent experience attending a meeting in Rochester.

“It was so exciting for us to say we had this equipment before Mayo Rochester,” she said. “You have made a huge difference for us.”

Jane Kotewa, board member, announced eight winners who each received a $2,500 Erma Rosen nursing scholarship: Brooke Lemon, Dayna Madsen, Emily Antolik, Emily Kloeckner, Gretta Sheehan, Katelyn Renneke, Marissa Larson and Sandra Gruenig.

Shortly before her death two years ago, Rosen doubled the amount of money in the scholarship fund, which enabled twice as many scholarships to be given this year. In the past nine years, 29 students have received Rosen scholarships.

Amy Long, administrator at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont, gave an update on the growth of the medical campus, highlighting the new Lutz Cancer Center, a $1.7 million project, which is on schedule to open in August.

Kate Hawkins, Marilyn Forstrom and Dr. Hyun Kim were unanimously approved as new board of trustee members.

More information about the organization and its activities is available on the Fairmont Community Hospital Foundation website and Facebook page.

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