St. Joseph's Hospital and the health care auxiliary are preparing for a bash that will pay tribute to their roots, honour the current staff, and look ahead to the future.
This year marks the 75th anniversary for both the hospital and the auxiliary, and the organizations have a week of celebratory activities planned from November 25 to 30.
A committee has been formed for the celebrations. Hospital board chair Don Kindopp, pharmacy department employee Tanya Nichol, chaplain Marian Huber, and auxiliary members Nola Joseph and Eva Hagel are the committee's members.
Nichol said they have been meeting every second week to iron out the details for the celebration.
Activities begin with a pancake breakfast for the employees at 6:30 a.m. on the 25th at the hospital's cafeteria. The staff will be the focus of the celebrations on opening day, as there will also be a supper for the employees in the auditorium.
Staff members who can't attend the supper due to work commitments will be able to attend a nighttime social.
The 26th will open with a mass inside the hospital's chapel at 10 a.m. Father Brian Meredith from St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church will preside over the service. If the crowd exceeds the chapel's capacity, some people will be directed to the hospital's auditorium for a simulcast.
The hospital auxiliary will have their chance to celebrate in the afternoon with a tea at 2 p.m. in the auditorium. Donuts, dainties, tea and coffee will be served.
Joseph said they'll honour three women who have been involved with the auxiliary for more than 60 years: Jeannie Perry, Lenore Wanner and Lil Gedak. They'll also salute the auxiliary's 20 life members.
“It's really nice to be able to celebrate with the hospital," said Joseph, who is also the co-president of the auxiliary. "We're such a part the hospital, and have been since 1938."
A get-together for current and previous board members will be happening at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Wine and cheese will be served. Harp player Sharon Elliot of Weyburn will provide entertainment.
An alumni social will happen on the 27th in auditorium. Nichol said former nurses, physicians, CEOs, staff members and anybody else who used to work at the hospital will be invited.
A come-and-go community celebration will happen on the 28th at the auditorium. Nichol said she is hopeful that several hundred people will attend the event, which will be at the hospital's auditorium.
"We're getting three massive birthday cakes, so hopefully there'll be enough for everyone," said Nichol.
The week-long festivities will conclude with the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation's inaugural Festival of Trees on November 29 and 30 at the Wylie-Mitchell building. Attractions for the evening of the 29th will include continuous live Christmas music, crafts, Christmas-themed activities and much more.
Then there will be a fundraising dinner on the 30th, with a Christmas feast, auctions, and a performance by Canadian comedy singers the Arrogant Worms.
“I like the way it builds," Kindopp said. "We involve the current staff. We involve the auxiliary, the board, the alumni and the community, and then on Saturday we look to the future."
Nichol said the committee is hopeful that the different events will attract many people who have played a role in the hospital's past success.
"We've sent an invitation to the Sisters of St. Joseph's of Peterborough, Ontario, so we're hoping to see them come for the week, or at least for Tuesday for the mass," said Nichol. It was the Sisters of St. Joseph's who helped found the hospital in 1938.
She expects there will be displays of old hospital equipment for people to view, and the committee is working on tours of the hospital so that people can see new areas such as the dialysis unit.
Displays set up during the different functions will document the hospital's history with photos and information. A "Road of Firsts" will celebrate the many milestones in the hospital's history.
"I'm creating a memory tree," Nichol said. "It's a big tree on a wall, and I'm going to have leaves of different colours. You can write a story of St. Joseph's, or a memory, or a tribute to somebody.
"Once it's complete, then we'll take all the leaves and put them in a book so that people can take a look at them for another 75 years from now."
Nichol said the committee is working on the loose ends for the event. But most of the work is done, and she is looking forward to what should be a great week.