By Marianne Boerigter
Photo by Faune Benson Schuitema
It was Volunteer Appreciation night at the Dogwood Center on Thursday, August 15. Dogwood volunteers provide countless hours of service that help make the Dogwood Center the strong cultural resources that it is. Over the past year, over 35 community members from all of our communities in Newaygo County helped with fundraising, ticket sales, technical needs, ushers and greeters, and all the components necessary for providing such a wonderful venue.
Dogwood volunteers were treated to complimentary tickets to the ragtime pianist Bob Milne concert as a special thank you for their help over the past year. That evening, Dogwood Board of Directors stepped into the volunteer roles of box office personnel, ushers and greeters.
The Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award is given annually to the volunteer whose service, dedication, and commitment embodies the Dogwood Center’s spirit. This award is dedicated to Don Heaven. Since the inception of the Dogwood Center, Don has worked tirelessly to make it not only a reality but also an excellent asset to Newaygo County. Over the past years, the Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award has been awarded to: Georgia Paxton, Irene Baker, Henrietta Van Meekeren, Marcia Eib, Julie Vanderboegh, Sandy Saliers, Shirley Hooker, Tom Shoecraft, Maxine McBride, Sandy Cruzan, Nevonda Lankhorst, and Dwight Austin. The 2019 Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Rob Johnston.
The Dogwood Center appreciate all of the time and extra effort Rob puts in to make the Dogwood experience special for everyone who walks in the door. He has been volunteering at the Dogwood for almost 7 years and works at any volunteer position that needs to be filled. Rob is a lover of the arts and that is why he volunteers at the Dogwood Center.
Rob has been retired from his position as Caretaker of Camp Echo since 2012, after 33 years on the job. At camp he was a mentor to many, hero to all, and is stilled called upon for advice and helpful hints by those who work at and enjoy camp. He is an amazing handyman and can fix anything. He has many hobbies including guitar, whittling, stained glass, mosaic, gardening, bee-keeping and underwater photography.
The Dogwood Center staff and Board of Directors appreciate and thank all of the wonderful Dogwood volunteers for all that they do! For information on how you can volunteer at the Dogwood Center, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
Gerber Memorial staff tests skills, preparedness with safety drill
FREMONT– With the goal of helping medical and emergency professionals prepare for a potential mass casualty situation, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial partnered with PRIDE of Newaygo County on July 30 in a community-wide exercise.
“Based in a large agricultural community and surrounded by many large industrial plants that work with all types of chemicals, our medical professionals prepared for a worst-case scenario at a local manufacturing facility. While there has not been an incident of this magnitude, the potential exists and our community should know that Spectrum Health is ready,” said Amanda Lutz, MPH, emergency preparedness specialist at Gerber Memorial.
Registration staff, emergency department, facilities, security, hospital supervision, Hospital Emergency Response Team (HERT) and emergency preparedness staff all prepared for a worst-case scenario at a local manufacturing facility.
In this fictional simulation, a forklift driver punctured a crate containing an unknown chemical substance. Students who volunteered to act as casualties on Tuesday were assigned a “victim role,” health status and even injury props, to help bring the scenario to life. They then went through the process of being transported via ambulance and treated at the hospital.
“In real life, a hospital must be trained to handle a mass casualty while also dealing with other civilians who may need to be treated for day-to-day injuries. So, several students were assigned to play the role of patients who were injured outside of the mass casualty incident as well,” Lutz said.
Preparation is a critical part of being able to effectively handle a mass casualty incident, Lutz said, adding that exercising different scenarios helps Gerber Memorial prepare for a potential incident – natural or human-caused – that may impact the hospital or community.
Not only did the drill provide the Emergency Department with an added component to a mass casualty incident but it allowed Gerber Memorial to engage its H.E.R.T. These team members are trained to protect the hospital, patients and their families, and employees in the event of a disaster in the community. Made up of Gerber Memorial staff who receive additional training, HERT team members respond to threats from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive materials. The HERT team operates an emergency treatment area as hospital first receivers.
By Lutz’s estimate, the exercise went well.
All participating staff communicated effectively and adjusted to gaps that came up, she noted.
“We purposefully chose this scenario and went into the exercise knowing we were going to identify some gaps and areas for improvement and we did just that,” she said. “It’s best to work through and identify these areas for improvement during an exercise rather than in a real-life incident. There is always potential for improvement.”
As an accredited facility, Gerber Memorial is also required to complete exercises that test its emergency department on patient surge. Lutz said Gerber Memorial does more than what its accreditation requires so it can better serve the community.
Exercise simulates injuries from chemical exposure; local volunteers play patients
Volunteer coordinator looks to increase recruitment efforts
Fremont– Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial has hired Susan Seaben as its new volunteer services coordinator.
A Fremont native, Seaben was employed with Spectrum Health Medical Group for eight years, where she has held positions as a coder associate, revenue integrity supervisor and site billing and coding specialist. Her career has come full circle where she began her career serving Gerber Memorial as a patient account representative for six years.
“As a resident of Newaygo County, I am looking forward to establishing meaningful relationships with each of our volunteers,” Seaben said. “I am excited to better understand the needs of the community and the needs of the hospital, I am confident that my passion for customer service will help us increase recruitment efforts and retain needed volunteers.”
In her new role, Seaben will also be an integral part of The Gift Shop and the Hospital Auxiliary Guild.
“I would like to draw attention to The Gift Shop and uncover ways to market this hidden treasure to the community,” she said. “We have a wide variety of items and such a unique space to promote and believe we can host events to attract the public here.”
As volunteer services coordinator, Seaben will oversee all volunteer activities, including administrative support, customer service, The Gift Shop, Hospital Auxiliary Guild, special events assistance and merchandising. Gerber Memorial currently has more than 45 volunteers.
Seaben is also responsible for developing and monitoring program budgets, goals and objectives, and policies and procedures.
Her office is located near the administration wing of the hospital. Anyone interested in volunteering at Gerber Memorial is encouraged to contact Seaben at: email@example.com or 231.924.1350.
From our friends at Muskegon River Clean-up Company LLC:
Thanks for helping us make the 8th annual Muskegon River Cleanup a big success again this year. Our 356 volunteers removed 3026 beverage containers, 3 tires, 14 pairs of sunglasses, 76 flip flops from the river. They also removed over 25 glass bottles, approximately 450 pounds of wood, 80 pounds of steel, a tricycle and approximately 350 pounds general trash.
The strangest find this year was a toilet seat and we don’t know the story on that. Thanks to everyone that helped from the ground crew to all of us unfortunate ones that had to float down this beautiful river and clean up the trash.
Please remember that a glass bottle, at the bottom of the river, can be there anywhere from 500-800 years before it turns back to sand. Next year the Muskegon River Clean-up, sponsored by Muskegon River Clean-up Company, LLC, will be on Saturday August 1, 2020. Please mark your calendars.
A word from the Clean-up Crew
The 8th Annual Muskegon River Clean-up, sponsored by Muskegon River Clean-up Company, LLC is scheduled for Saturday, August 3, 2019. This is a free event, however parking fees will be collected. Registration and launch is between 9am and noon at the Bridgeton Township Launch Site and culminates at the Maple Island Launch Site throughout the day.
Upon arriving at Maple Island, registered participants, that have collected trash from the river, will be given a ticket for a hot dog lunch, while supplies last, and a prize ticket. At 5pm sharp, at the Maple Island Launch Site, we will give away at least 10 kayaks, along with other items.
Last year 519 people participated in this event. Over the past 7 years we have removed 20,583 beverage containers, 50 to 60 tires, a few tons of green treated lumber, over 500 flip flops, and countless phones, sunglasses and lighters from the river. Some of the stranger items removed were 2 sewing machines, a bowling ball, a large electric motor, a 9.8hp outboard and a metal bed. Last year alone, we removed 4326 beverage containers, 1 chair, 1 milk can, 114 flip flops, 25 pairs of goggles and glasses, 18 lighters, 1 cell phone, 12 tires, 1 garbage can, miscellaneous animal bones, scrap iron and treated wood, along with general trash.
We recycle what items we can and that money is used to help fund the following year’s event. The most discouraging thing is that we have cleaned this area for 7 years now and still continue to get a dump truck full of trash each year.
We would like to thank the Bridgeton Township Board, West Michigan Wildlife Association and Muskegon Watershed Assembly for their support over the years.
Won’t you join us on Saturday, August 3rd for an enjoyable day on the Muskegon River and help us keep it clean? For additional information or to donate, please contact Jerry at 231-578-5465.
Gerber Memorial thanks community for supporting dunk tank fundraiser
Money will support community health programs, from school wellness to support groups
FREMONT– Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial on Wednesday, July 24, thanked the Newaygo County community for helping raise more than $350 for local community health programs, by chipping in loose change for a dunk tank at the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce’s recently concluded National Baby Food Festival.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is grateful for all the people who donated to the dunk tank fundraiser and support local programs that help bring health and wellness to Newaygo County school kids and families,” said Loretta Towne, Spectrum Health Foundation Gerber Memorial specialist. “We’re thankful to see people from all backgrounds and of all ages step up to support programs throughout our community to help families achieve their health and wellness goals. We had some great head-to-head matchups throughout the week and folks had a lot of fun getting people they know take a quick dip.”
Gerber Memorial’s community health programs include childhood nutrition seminars, wellness education for more than 4,000 elementary students in the county, tobacco cessation classes and support groups.
One of the marquee dunk-tank matchups pitted Newaygo High School Principal Brad Reyburn against Fremont High School Assistant Principal Brett Westerlund to see who would raise more money. The Saturday, July 20, showdown moments before a massive thunderstorm fell on Fremont ended in a tie: Both men, dressed in their respective school shirts, raised $35 each during their 30-minute stints in the tank. Justin Aman, Tamarac Wellness Center supervisor, raised $60 during his hourlong shift in the tank on Friday, July 19, trying mightily to catch the $62 that was ultimately the record for an hour-long one-person shift, set by Newaygo High School senior Sophia Frisbie in the tank on Wednesday, July 17, with the help of Gerber Memorial Administrative Assistant Kerri Wiseman serving as the designated “heckler” challenging passersby to dunk Frisbie.
“We could not have done this without the brave volunteers who stepped into the dunk tank and took a dip in cold water for the sake of supporting our community health programs, and we want to express our deepest thanks to them,” Towne said.
National Baby Food Festival Co-coordinator Sydney Baird presented Towne with the total $355 raised on Wednesday.
For more information about the Foundation at Gerber Memorial, contact Towne at 231.924.3681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about the NBFF or the Gerber Memorial dunk tank fundraiser, contact the Fremont Chamber of Commerce at 231.924-0770.
The celebration for the National Baby Food Festival’s “First Baby Born” included (left to right) in front, Geoff Lineberry and Kaely Jewett holding baby Lorelei; in back, Maureen Ruiter RN, Jayne Guikema of Chemical Bank, Cheryl Schuiteman of Gerber Parent Resource Center, Monica Hoffmann RN and Raul Andino MD.
Gerber Memorial Welcomes “First Baby Born” in Annual National Baby Food Festival Contest
Fremont –Holding three days past her due date, Lorelei Louise Lineberry was born into stardom.
Parents Kaely Jewett of Fremont and Geoff Lineberry of Muskegon welcomed their first child at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial and received welcoming gifts from the local community. Born on Thursday, July 18, at 7:22 p.m., Lorelei was awarded the National Baby Food Festival “First Baby Born” honor.
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is a proud sponsor of the NBFF First Baby Born which is awarded to the baby born closest to a random date and time selected during the four-day festival in Fremont. This year, the designated date and time was Thursday, July 18 at 10 a.m. Lorelei was born closest to that day and time.
“She was born a winner,” Jewett said. “Lorelei is a very special little girl already. She is being welcomed into this world being showered with gifts.”
Along with Lorelei’s award, the family also received gifts from local businesses, including the OB/GYN and Delivery teams at Gerber Memorial, Gerber Parents Resource Center, Chemical Bank, Fremont Chamber of Commerce, Joan and Co., Fairview Floral and Gingerly Cleaning.
“If you saw a heat wave would you wave back?” Steven Wright.
All kidding aside it is hot and it is going to be hot for a bit so when we received these tips from these kind folks at Spectrum of how to handle said heat (and humidity) we moved quickly (well, as quickly as one can in this weather) to bring them to our readers.
1. Don’t exercise outside during periods of extreme heat. Runners should target mornings and evenings, when it’s cooler. Exercise increases your core body temperature and decreases your level of dehydration, so hydration before and during exercise is important. Dehydration can lead to exertional heat stroke, which is one of the top killers of athletes in training-Spectrum Health Manager of Athletic Training Outreach Phillip Adler
2. Avoid sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages because they can dehydrate you.
If you’re dehydrated, your body loses its ability to appropriately regulate temperature. One sports drink a day is fine, but water should be your go-to drink.
-Associate Director of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Emergency Dept. Dr. Erica Michiels
3. Monitor the water intake of children.
Just because you provide water, doesn’t mean they’re drinking it. Plus, children sweat less than adults, which makes it more difficult for them to cool off. For children and adults spending time outside, one solid “glug” of water every 10 minutes is a good idea.
-Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Specialist Jennifer Hoekstra
4. Take a dip, or at least sponge off with cool water.
Cool water can quickly lower your body temperature, so jump in a lake or pool. If that’s not an option, grab a wet towel or washcloth. The evaporation of water off your skin, especially in conjunction with circulating air, will cool you down.
-Spectrum Health Injury Prevention Coordinator Meaghan Crawley
5. If you’re on medication, be extra cautious.
Some medications, including those for high blood pressure, cardiac conditions and mental illness, can put children and adults at greater risk of dehydration, particularly when the heat index is above 90 degrees. If you’re taking medication, put an extra focus on staying hydrated.
-Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Specialist Jennifer Hoekstra
6. Keep an eye on friends and neighbors.
No one is immune from heat-related illnesses, but certain populations are more susceptible, including senior citizens, children and those who work or exercise outside in the extreme heat. Check on them twice a day.
-Spectrum Health Injury Prevention Coordinator Meaghan Crawley
7. Water, water, water! Especially if you’re pregnant
During pregnancy, blood volume increases 30-50 percent so added hydration is important. Dehydration in pregnancy can lead to light headedness, fatigue and lower blood pressures. Call your health care provider if you do not feel well after being in the heat and you have tried resting with plenty of water intake.
-Spectrum Health OB/GYN Dr. Kania McGhee
Empowerment Network Turns Twenty
It began with a vision to get mental health consumers integrated into the community in a safe recovery focused environment, and has culminated, more than 20 years later, with the Empowerment Network purchasing their own building and celebrating a milestone anniversary.
A drop in center, in which people with mental illness can have a safe place to grow in their recovery, became a goal for Newaygo County in the late 1990's. After meeting in church basements to plan the transition from day programs to a drop in center, a core group of consumers and Newaygo County Mental Health professionals moved forward to rent a space in the Hendon and Slate plaza. People in recovery from a mental illness were able to stop in for a meal and activities. The center grew exponentially, and Gabrielle Blackwell was hired in 2003 to run the program and in 2006, Jan Flinton was added to the staff as activities coordinator.
When the program outgrew the small space, the Empowerment Network moved downtown to 5 E. Main, its present location. Extensive remodeling, including a kitchen, was added to the building. Later, a resale shop was added to the front of the building to provide opportunities to interact with the public, learn retail skills and generate income for the center.
Today the program serves more than 150 members. It provides a safe, supportive environment for those who have shared similar experiences with the goal of helping them to live productive and independent lives. It is governed by a Board of Directors, comprised of members, who are also consumers of mental health services. Many individuals have gained valuable experience through being involved with internships working in the store, assisting with meal preparation, cleaning or providing outreach.
Many resources are available at the Empowerment Network, including internet access, creative activities, a family style meal, assistance with community services, physical and recreational activities and laundry facilities. Empowerment Network also runs a clothing closet and food pantry, providing needed resources for those in our community.
In May of 2019 the Empowerment Network purchased the building it had rented for many years. Peggy DeYoung was added as the new assistant director and the hours have been expanded to include Fridays. An Open House was held on May 15th to celebrate the 20th anniversary and more than 60 community members stopped in to celebrate this milestone.
Plans are being made to add a handicapped accessible bathroom and their Facebook page and website have been redesigned. Check empowermentnetwork.net for a schedule of activities, support groups, volunteer opportunities or ways to make a donation and help the Empowerment Network continue to grow and serve the community.
Gerber Memorial nurse receives award for going above and beyond
Fremont – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial surprised Victoria Walker, registered nurse, with the DAISY Award after being nominated by Katie Wolford of Fremont. The award recognizes exceptional nurses – and in Walker’s case, helping bring a party to the patient’s bedside.
On Feb. 15, Wolford sought care at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial. The trip turned into an admission and emergency surgery. Her youngest of three children, Kevin, was turning 8 years old just two days later.
Due to her surgery and recovery, Wolford and her husband, Jason, had no choice but to cancel their son’s birthday party that was to take place the following day, on Saturday, Feb. 16.
“Kevin was taking my surgery and me being gone pretty hard and I felt so bad not being there. The last thing that we wanted to do was to cancel his birthday party,” Katie Wolford said. “Jason and our children came to the hospital Sunday, Kevin’s birthday, to visit me and Victoria came in the room with a piece of cake, some ice cream and sang happy birthday to him. This made him feel so special. Victoria was not only attentive to me, but to my family. She is a great nurse and I want her to know how grateful we are for her and her care.”
For Walker, bringing cake and ice cream – and a little cheer – was all part of the job.
“I don’t believe my actions were going above and beyond,” she said. “From our conversations, I knew that Katie was devastated that they had to cancel Kevin’s birthday. As a mother myself, I know how important your children are and you want everything to be perfect. I couldn’t change the situation, but I could bring in cake and ice cream and turn an unfortunate situation into something memorable. I am proud to be a nurse and will do whatever is necessary to make sure our patients are well cared for, even if it means throwing a birthday party in an unlikely location.”
A signature program of the DAISY Foundation, the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses recognizes individual nurses and clinical teams throughout the year for their extraordinary, compassionate care. More than 3,600 health care facilities and nursing schools across the US and in 21 other countries participate every year.
“The DAISY Awards were created to express gratitude to nurses around the world for their compassion and Victoria is a model for all of us when it comes to compassion and caring,” said Meleah Mariani, chief nursing officer with Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial. “Our nurses take great pride in their job and are accustomed to going above and beyond. While they don’t ask for any recognition, I am grateful this award has been established so we can show our nursing staff how much we appreciate their care, compassion and dedication to the patients and community we serve.”
For more information about The DAISY Award and the Foundation’s other recognition of nurses, faculty and students, visit www.DAISYfoundation.org.
Patients, visitors, nurses, physicians, and associates are encouraged to nominate a deserving nurse by filling out the nomination form at reception located at the main hospital entrance. Completed forms can be dropped off or emailed to email@example.com.