As the Upper River Valley Hospital Foundation expands efforts to maintain and improve health care to the region, it looks toward the communities it serves to “adopt” the hospital as its own.
It’s finding support from community leaders, businesses and area residents. This week the nearby Hartland Tim Hortons is supporting the foundation with funds from their Smile Cookie campaign.
Last month, the town of Hartland delivered funds to the foundation. Earlier, the town was one of four in the URVH catchment area to officially adopt it as its own.
On Friday, Aug. 14, Mayor Tracey DeMerchant of Hartland, one of the first town councils to approve the adoption of the hospital, visited the facility in Waterville to put money where the community’s heart is by presenting a $7,800 cheque to the foundation Chair Dr. Wayne McLaughlin.
“Recently, Hartland was the first town to adopt the URVH,” explained DeMerchant. “As a local community, it seems logical to support and invest in the URVH since, in most cases, it is where we go to receive medical care.”
McLaughlin, who, along with Upper River Valley Area Administrative Director Trish Murray, accepted the donation, said he was proud to receive the grant from Mayor DeMerchant on behalf of the town of Hartland.
“This comes after the adoption of the Upper River Valley Hospital in the town council of Hartland as Hartland’s very own hospital,” McLaughlin said, as he greeted DeMerchant outside the hospital’s main entrance. “The URVHF appreciates the expression of ownership of the Upper River Valley Hospital by the citizens served from this beautiful facility that we’re are so fortunate to have.”
McLaughlin explained members of the foundation are in the process of approaching all the community councils in the Upper River Valley Hospital’s catchment area to adopt the hospital. He explained the foundation’s presentation to councils began a couple of years ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a halt to the process.
“To date, Bath, Florenceville-Bristol and Woodstock join Hartland in this vital effort to support, maintain and, where appropriate, expand the patient services provided by URVH,” McLaughlin said.
DeMerchant said the hospital, which sits in the outskirts of Hartland, plays a central role in health-care delivery to town residents, and the council believes it can help ensure they receive the best possible medical care and service.
“When we take ownership in this way, we maintain and promote keeping standards high in our local hospital,” she said.
Noting the $7,800 donation will be used towards purchasing a Hi/Low bed, DeMerchant said council sees it as an investment in the community.
“Another opportunity for neighbours to help neighbours,” she said.
McLaughlin said the foundation believes this type of community support “will prove vital in the success of URVH over the decades.”
“We are thrilled to have Hartland, URVH’s closest community, show their support,” he said.
Foundations directly supporting the Upper River Valley region disappeared for several years after opening the new hospital and closing the Carleton Memorial Hospital in Woodstock and the Northern Carleton Hospital in Bath, which both had foundations.
The Upper River Valley Hospital re-introduced the foundation, aligning itself with the Chalmers Foundation of the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton to facilitate immediate giving, issuing receipts and administrative support.
Funds raised by our Foundation are utilized exclusively for long-term improvement to patient care at the Upper River Valley Hospital.
In an earlier River Valley Sun article explaining the creation of the foundation, McLaughlin and other board members explained its commitments as follows:
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun