Where there is a will, there is a way – as the saying goes – and that keeps the small but mighty
Northern Inyo Hospital Auxiliary moving forward.
Recently the group installed its 2023-2024 slate of officers, demonstrating a never-ending
commitment to Northern Inyo Hospital and the communities it serves. NIHD Board Chair Mary
Mae Kilpatrick swore in Judy Fratella as President, Karen Benson as Vice President, Sharon Moore
as Treasurer, Carole Sample as Corresponding Secretary, and Betty Dickey as Recording Secretary.
The financially struggling Healthcare District made special provisions for celebrating the Auxiliary.
Hospital employees donated the funds to treat the group to the Bishop County Club luncheon.
Board Chair Kilpatrick personally purchased a corsage for each member. Interim Chief Executive
Officer Stephen DelRossi and Interim Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stefan Schunk took time from their
schedules to speak highly of the Auxiliary’s most recent fundraising efforts.
As always, the installation’s highlight was the recognition of the service hours put in by members.
As a group, the members gave 6,515.5 hours or roughly 271 full days, for the benefit of the
Healthcare District in 2022-2023. These new hours bring the total number worked by the
Auxiliary during 1982-2023 to 301,960.5 hours. President Fratella awarded service pins to those
members who reached milestones in their personal service hours. Fratella herself reached 12,000
cumulative hours. Others honored included:
Sharon Moore with a Lifetime Hours of Service of 19,500;
Diane Remick and Judy Speed with 6,500 hours;
Vivian Mitchel with 6,000 hours;
Betty Dickey with 5,500 hours;
Cheryl Underhill and Nan Giddings, each with 2,500;
Carole Sample with 2,000 hours; and,Karen Benson, Pat Hawley, and Marti Witters had 500 hours.
For more than 60 years, Auxiliary members have invested time, talent, and treasure in the health
and well-being of the Northern Inyo Healthcare District residents. Within the last year, while
getting back on its collective feet after the pandemic, the Auxiliary met a new financial milestone,
putting its lifetime total at $650,000 toward equipment purchases for the hospital.
The group raises funds through its popular Holiday Craft Boutiques, community donations, and
the operation of the hospital’s Gift Shop. The Gift Shop sales of handmade quilts, baby clothing,
flower bouquets, and See’s Candy often make the difference between a good and great fiscal
year for the group.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges for President Fratella and her
volunteers. The Auxiliary shut down for more than a year, unable to work in the Gift Shop or hold
its fundraising boutique due to health and safety mandates.
“We had no revenue stream from our gift shop or boutique, which impacted us financially,”
Fratella explains. “We did manage to get back on our feet, and we’re back operating the gift shop
and preparing for our third boutique since the shutdown.”
However, the pandemic left one lasting effect on the Auxiliary: a decrease in membership.
“Volunteer groups around the country are struggling with this issue, and we know Inyo County
has many volunteer opportunities,” Fratella explains. “We believe that what we do has lasting
value and benefits many people, often in challenging times, like those we just passed through.”
Membership in the Auxiliary is open to men and women. Fratella reminds everyone that all help
is welcome and appreciated and that there are no prerequisites for membership.
“Everyone thinks they have to be a crafter to join, but that’s not true,” Fratella said. “We need
people with all talents to help us reach our goals. The more hands contributing to the collective
goal, the better.”
The Auxiliary meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Birch Street Annex,
2957 Birch St., Bishop. Anyone interested in making a financial donation or joining the Auxiliary
may call Sharon Moore at (760) 872-4198 for details.
NIHD Board Chair Mary Mae Kilpatrick (in yellow) swore in the 2023-24 NIH
Hospital Auxiliary officers during a luncheon at Bishop County Club. From left to right are Corresponding
Secretary Carole Sample, Vice President Karen Benson, President Judy Fratella, Mary Mae Kilpatrick,
Treasurer Sharon Moore and Recording Secretary Betty Dickey. Photo by Barbara Laughon/Northern Inyo
Auxiliary Recording Secretary Betty Dickey samples the fresh potato chips offered
during the NIH Auxiliary Installation lunch. Donations from the Healthcare District’s employees paid for the
luncheon. Photo by Barbara Laughon/Northern Inyo Healthcare District