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by Kerry Hughson, Business Manager, DECH Auxiliary

The Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital Auxiliary celebrated 130 years  (2021) of fundraising efforts in the name of improved health care services in the Fredericton area. The Auxiliary’s roots in the city date back to 1888, when a local Hospital Aid Association was formed in most Church organizations in Fredericton. By 1891, the Hospital Aid Association became less affiliated with the church and adopted a formal constitution. In 1976, when the current hospital was opened, the name of the organization was changed to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital Auxiliary. 

The mission of the DECH Auxiliary is to contribute to positive patient and staff experiences by supporting equipment purchases and upgrades, education and comfort needs at Horizon’s DECH, Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation, and Veteren’s Health Unit. Over the years, methods of raising funds have varied, but the majority of funds today are raised through the operation of the Coffee Shop, Gift Box and Hair Salon.  Since 1990, the Auxiliary has donated over 5.4 million dollars. Individual contributions can vary in dollar amounts, some larger and some quite small depending on the need. Examples of these are $450,000  minimally invasive surgical suites lights and monitors in 3 operating rooms, $45,000 toward a mini bus for Veteren’s Health,  $170,000  ultasound for Maternal and Child Health,  $15,900 exercise equipment Stan Cassidy Centre,  $150,000 ICU monitor upgrades, $55,000 ventilator for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and  $85,000 echocardiogram for cardiac diagnostics. These are just a few of the donations throughout the years. Through our valued customers, very dedicated staff and wonderful volunteers, this has been possible. 

The DECH Auxiliary awards nursing scholarships and bursaries to students at the University of New Brunswick of $14,000 yearly. A $1,000 high school student volunteer award  is given. $15,000 is given yearly to various units at the DECH for patient comforts. The Auxiliary has supported the Chalmers Foundation in their efforts also.  

The DECH Auxiliary is overseen by a 12 member volunteer Board of Directors plus a Business Manager. My name is Dale McLeod. I am currently President. I retired in 2005, began volunteering in the Gift Box in 2007, became an Auxiliary member shortly thereafter and began serving on the Board of Directors in 2010.  “I love volunteering. What a heartwarming use of one’s free time. I am grateful to be part of an organization that strives to make things better for others.” 

There have been challenges these past two years due to restrictions related to Covid resulting in our customer numbers being significantly reduced but The Auxiliary still remains a viable entity. Volunteers are always welcome in the Gift Box and Coffee Shop. They play a major part in the success of the organization, are needed and greatly appreciated. If anyone is interested in helping,  Volunteer Services at the DECH would be very happy to take your request to volunteer in the Gift Shop or the Coffee Shop. You do not need to be an Auxiliary member to be a volunteer.  

The Auxiliary has facebook pages being DECH Auxiliary Gift Box and DECH Auxiliary Coffee Shop.  Drop by the pages and “like, follow and share” if you would like to spread the information about our businesses. We update our posts regularly. Becoming a general member of the Auxiliary is easy by contacting  the Auxiliary business office at 452-5618. We would be pleased to welcome you.  

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