Dennis and Edie Demshar owned the Honey Baked Ham store in Lady Lake when they became a partner with our Auxiliary. They had been part of the Honey Baked Ham family for twenty years and were always involved in their community. When they moved here from Ohio in 2005, it was an easy decision to continue to give back and help serve their community as well as set an example for others to follow. They became room naming sponsors and say "We are happy to see our plaque on the wall next to the patient room and know that we are helping to make a positive impact on the care and services OUR hospital strives to bring to the community."
Dennis and Edie now own the Demshar's restaurant in Spanish Springs and we know they would be happy to see you there any time.
John and Cindy were living in The Villages® before the original groundbreaking of our hospital in 2002. They made the decision to contribute to our Auxiliary Foundation after attending the 2014 Auxiliary Foundation dinner. They said “We wanted to become a partner with the Foundation and donate a patient room….but with certain special features." After an impressive tour of the facilities given by Deidre Rosemond – Patient Navigator, they began to search for the right room. "Success came in Room 4310 with a lovely southern view overlooking a pond that would give a patient and loved ones the view of the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening.”
Russ is a member of UF Health Central Florida's Advisory Board. In 2016, he noted “There is no doubt that we continue to have one of the finest and best equipped hospitals in Florida. The recent expansion of UF Health The Villages® Hospital has positioned us with added capacity and functionality to meet future growth in our communities. However, providing quality care, safety and service to keep our patients healthy relies on our ability to have a steady stream of employees who are qualified, advancing their skills and dedicated to caring for their patients.”
With that in mind, Russ and Marie looked at additional ways to give back to the community and they decided the Auxiliary Foundation's Scholarship Program was a perfect fit for their priorities and wishes. The scholarships ease the financial burden of high school students in our area and allow them to pursue their college education toward healthcare careers, with the added hope that they will join our workforce in the future. And, more immediately, it provides that little added assistance for current team members to obtain certifications and education to advance their careers within our system.
Russ adds, “Attending the scholarship reception and seeing the appreciation on their faces and comments of the recipients was all that was needed to reinforce our decision and satisfaction. We encourage others to join us in these efforts.”
Blake Gallaher and his wife Kate are the public faces of the family-owned Arden’s Fine Jewelers located at Lake Sumter Landing. Blake said “We want to be part of the process of continuing quality care in the hospital and positive growth.” One of the ways they support the Foundation is through their donation each year to the Gala’s live auction. They always select a designer piece, following the latest trends in diamonds. The young couple met in the jewelry business. Blake is a third generation jeweler and says jewelry is his passion. Blake and Kate get to know their customers on a personal level which means knowing some of them during illnesses. They have heard many stories about the quality staff and volunteers his customers encounter as patients in the hospital. He and Kate are happy to be part of the team that helps the hospital provide the good treatment they hear about from their customers.
Gary says “When I heard about UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation’s Scholarship Program I immediately saw it as an excellent way to expand our existing military scholarship program with Project SOS – Support Our Soldiers, which is designed to provide financial assistance to children of those who served honorably in the US Military to be able to receive a higher education.”
Project SOS now provides funds to the Auxiliary Foundation to assist children of our military who are seeking professions in the healthcare industry. In addition, they allow hospital team members who served in the military to improve their opportunities for career expansion by helping to fund training and certification programs. Gary concludes by saying, “These new programs will not only be of benefit to the recipients but they will help our local community by expanding the number of healthcare professionals and services.”
'Paying it forward' and wanting to encourage community philanthropy. These are just two reasons why those who give to organizations and causes want to remain anonymous. An anonymous donor to the Auxiliary Foundation wrote, “We saw a need and wanted to support what others have so generously begun. We want the focus to be on the hospital and not us. It’s the hospital that is so valuable to the community. Three-fifths of our donation is unrestricted to allow the Foundation to use it where it’s most needed and the remainder is designated for the Patient Care Committee which looks for items - not in the hospital’s budget - to help improve the care delivered to patients. Our hope is that this gift will encourage others to give what they can, when they can, to continue to support the hospital. If we all work together, it’s amazing what we can get done.”
If you're curious about donating to the hospital, call Dick Campbell, Foundation President, at 352.751.8871 and visit with him in person. That baby step may convince you to donate and lead to other donations. That’s what happened with this couple. Once they saw that the Foundation is a great steward of money it receives, they became regular donors and support many of the Foundation’s projects.
The Foundation has been extremely fortunate to receive several anonymous donations over the years and feels blessed by these gifts.
Robert Fross and Thomas Fross have played a significant role in partnering with UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation to achieve its mission.
They were personally touched by the effects of cancer when a family member died at a very young age from the terrible disease. As they became room naming sponsors to honor all of those who have been touched by breast cancer they remarked, "UF Health The Villages® Hospital's commitment to providing the very best level of care in Central Florida will undoubtedly affect the lives of almost all of our clients. The Auxiliary Foundation's strong focus in raising funds for this wonderful hospital is truly contagious. Since we know that 100% of the money donated stays right here in our community helping our own residents we think every business and organization should consider partnering with the Foundation."
The VHA decided to become a room naming sponsor because they recognized the wonderful contribution the Foundation makes to our community and specifically to the hospital.
The VHA works to make a similar contribution to residents in The Villages®. It was a natural fit to work together and make both organizations stronger. Homes and businesses in The Villages® are served by 'OUR' hospital. Its ability to provide the best care to those of us who live and work here is paramount to our living healthy lives. Everyone needs to recognize that we all have a stake in the hospital's success."
George and Gloria Counselman became donors to UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation after volunteering for nearly a year. Volunteering where they see a necessity has always been part of their adult lives.
Gloria says, "At the hospital there is a need for volunteers. The volunteers really work; they are not just for show. George and I put in a lot of hours, but we do it because we want to—not because we have to, and that makes a big difference."
George says they do their homework before donating financially. He says of the Foundation, "They don't waste money. They have their act together." Referring to Dick Campbell, George continues, "Dick's fiscal philosophy caught my attention. We knew they would be good stewards of our monetary contributions."
They are room naming sponsors, but you won't see their name on the plaque. They are also scholarship sponsors. "We like to be quiet donors. The hospital is so valuable to the community. We saw a need and wanted to support what others have so generously begun."
Mac Griffith is the Senior District Executive of the Boy Scouts of America for the Lake District of Florida. Mac became involved in scouting at the age of six and became an Eagle Scout at 17. He was a 6th grade teacher for two years, so his background demonstrates his concern for youth. That's why he was instrumental in developing a partnership with the Auxiliary Foundation's Scholarship Program.
"Through the partnership that Lake District Scouting and the Auxiliary Foundation has had, both scouting youth and scholarship recipients have benefitted directly through the experiences these gifts have provided," he said. "It is through this partnership that both organizations will continue to serve youth for a better tomorrow."