KING CITY — Mee Memorial Hospital Foundation is seeking board members for its independent, nonprofit group that supports Mee Memorial Healthcare System’s improvements and facility developments.
Members serve three-year terms, with many serving multiple terms on the board.
The group has recently helped fund the setup of the mammography center at the hospital in King City and the Greenfield Clinic. Over the past 50 years, the foundation has raised millions of dollars for the betterment of the hospital, from fetal monitors and dialysis chairs to floor polishers.
“Our foundation is dedicated to improving access to care in South County by funding important projects,” said Foundation President John Greathouse.
The board currently has 10 members, and can go to a maximum of 25, but is aiming more for 14 to 17 members at the moment. They are dedicated to helping the rural hospital, which were it not in place, would mean a drive of 50 miles north or south to get to the next hospital in either Salinas or Paso Robles.
“Most everybody on the hospital foundation, we truly believe that this hospital needs to remain here and it doesn’t need to be part of a conglomerate,” said Ellen Willis-Nevill, a foundation board member. “This little town needs a hospital. It’s saved many lives.”
Willis-Nevill, herself an RN, became interested in medical care at 5 years old when growing up in a small Midwestern town and a local nurse showed her how to deliver her grandmother’s insulin shots.
“I was shaking so hard the first time I did it,” she recalled. “It’s a lot to put on a 5 year old.”
Willis-Nevill has continued to care about patients, whom she said is the reason why Mee Memorial remains important to South Monterey County.
“Women were having to drive all the way to Paso or Salinas to get just a mammogram, a simple 30-minute test, and then they were having to wait,” explained Willis-Nevill, adding that many of the women didn’t have cars and were taking the bus. “To schedule appointments around a bus schedule may mean getting there early and end up waiting after your test.”
Foundation board members typically take on responsibilities that suit their skills. Currently, Willis-Nevill said the skills most needed on the board would be computer proficiency and energetic problem solvers.
The Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted some of the foundation’s fundraising efforts, but Willis-Nevill noted the community has helped out in the past with raising money for projects and improvements at the hospital. One story that stood out to her was when the pastor from Grace Lutheran Church donated a car that the foundation auctioned off.
“It was one of the greatest fundraisers we ever had,” she said.
She also brought up the pie auctions, which can bring in as much as $5,000 per pie.
“One day Dan Green interviewed me and he said, ‘South County is a forgotten place, but it’s the most generous in the entire county,’” Willis-Nevill said.
A current fundraiser in the works is at the rose garden next to Mee Memorial Hospital, where people can donate to have a rose dedicated to someone or have a brick in the walkway dedicated.
“It’s just a little quiet place you could go and relax,” Willis-Nevill said about the rose garden.
Community members interested in applying should send an email, including a biography and resume, to Elsbeth Wetherill at [email protected]. The board application is available at https://bit.ly/3e2yLT9.