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Mary Immaculate Hospital Foundation Celebrates new Milestone

Mary Immaculate Hospital Foundation Celebrates new Milestone

Michelle Pinon - News Advertiser

Mary Immaculate Hospital foundation celebrated a new milestone to mark the completion of a new mural and showcase its 20 passenger bus and mini-van to residents, family members and invited guests on Aug. 21.

Mary Immaculate Hospital Foundation Chair Sylvia Zacharkiw welcomed everyone to the open house and told attendees a bit about the organization which is dedicated to serving the residents of the long-term health care facility.

Zacharkiw told attendees, approximately 50 in total, that Mary Immaculate Hospital Foundation was established in 2005.

“Any funds that come into the facility through charitable donations, memorial donations are turned over to us and it’s our responsibility to spend the money wisely to the benefit of the residents to enhance their quality of life and to provide things for the facility that a normal budget would not cover.

Since that time we’ve spent nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in the facility. From small items like a television or a chair to things like the refurbished chapel, three seasons room, some state of the art beds and the acquisitions that we’ve had in the last five years.”

Sylvia Zacharkiw and Lorraine Shulba.

Sylvia Zacharkiw and Lorraine Shulba.

(Michelle Pinon/Photo)

Zacharkiw introduced current members of the board as well as the mural artist Lorraine Shulba who spent the better part of a month painting the large scale mural.

In 2016, Zacharkiw said the board made the decision to purchase a new van to take residents to appointments. “We were appreciative of the van provided by the Ed Stawnichy Charitable Foundation, but it was starting show its wear and we needed to accommodate larger wheelchair. Through funding with the community initiatives program, Sister Servants, who were very good financial stewards, and turned funds from the hospital over to us.”

Zacharkiw said they also approached various levels of government, individuals and organizations for donations.

“The new bus was too big for the existing garage so they built a new one.” Zacharkiw said residents didn’t like lookingat the “big white monstrosity” and decided a mural would be in order and contracted services of Shulba.

Zacharkiw said the mural tells the story of the facility. “From the beginnings of when Sisters first came to our community and wrap around to a portrait of Dr. Nicholas Strilchuk who was the first doctor in the area and served the community for 41 years before retiring. And then residents doing activities, and the hospital auxiliary that was a very good partner with us. They always had money to offer for programs and items, and they also provided a lot of social and spiritual care for the residents. Sad to say because of age and few number of them they had to disband earlier this year.”

Zacharkiw called on Covenant Health Board Chair Ed Stelmach to say a few words. “On behalf of the Covenant Health Foundation and Covenant Health would like to extend a sincere thank you to the foundation and to the community.”

Stelmach acknowledged the work of the volunteers and board members as well as the community at large. “This year with the invasion of Ukraine this small community raised in excess of $35,000 to accommodate various Ukrainian evacuees that have come and you continue to do so. That is a special thing for a community of this size. You’ve outraised all the ones Marie and I have had the pleasure of visiting over the last number of months for humanitarian aid.

Board Vice Chair Jo Ann Dubyk read a letter on behalf of Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville. “I was pleased to learn the Mary Immaculate Hospital Foundation received CIP funding to purchase a 20 passenger bus and van new garage and mural. Organizations like yours help build and strengthen civil society and make Alberta the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

L-R: Sister Laura Prokop, Sister Stephanie Olynyk, Sister Shelley Mackie, Olena Polischuk and her daughter Mariia.

L-R: Sister Laura Prokop, Sister Stephanie Olynyk, Sister Shelley Mackie, Olena Polischuk and her daughter Mariia.

(Michelle Pinon/Photo)

Site Administrator Thomas Metlin stated, “I’ve been here just under six months, but in that time it’s been very evident the connection to the facility to the community, and the community back to the facility. And you see it walking through our halls all over the place and it’s great to see. And it’s that connection that allows the foundation to be as successful as they are such as bus, garage, and number of other things in the facility.

Elaine Svitch said, “On behalf of the residents and their families I am extending our gratitude to the Mary Immaculate Hospital Foundation members who’ve been involved with the purchase of the new mini-van and 20 passenger bus. A big thank you to the families who donated in memory of lost loved ones and many businesses and many local donors.”

The program concluded with benediction and blessing from Chaplin James Lavoy. “Eternal God on this beautiful day we thank you for gathering us together as a community. We thank you for the Sister Servants whose faithful witness has been instrumental for a century of care here in Mundare.

Thank all those who work and provide care for the residents for their fellowship and for the community that comes together to support this wonderful place of hope and healing. In all we do help us to show love, shine grace and to continue to be a community of care.”

Attendee Josie Muntz said her sister Audrey Koch has resided at Mary Immaculate Health Care Centre for the past two years and commented how happy those bus rides have made her. Josie and her husband said she is very well cared for and that the staff are unbelievable.