Gift shop open for business

Posted: Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Hospital volunteers from more than 30 years ago were on hand Monday for the grand opening of the Central Peninsula General Hospital Auxiliary's new gift shop.

A half dozen hospital volunteers cut through a festive red and green ribbon as the Care Package officially was opened for business, offering gifts, cards and sundries to hospital visitors and employees.

Among the 30 people participating in the noon time ceremony were Anna Wheeler, current auxiliary president and one of the first volunteers at the hospital when in opened in June 1971. Her husband, Gene Wheeler, was the hospital's first administrator.

Also participating in the brief ceremony were Bill Bullingdon, who was the first president of volunteers and served as a volunteer for 15 years.

Bullingdon's wife, Maxine, also was on hand Monday. She has logged more than 2,000 volunteer hours at the Soldotna facility.

Another volunteer present was Luella Barker, who is still on the rolls of the hospital auxiliary. She has been volunteering since 1989.

"The original goal of the volunteers was to get the hospital opened," Wheeler said.

"And they did a good job."

She told the group gathered at the entrance to the small gift shop that after opening the hospital, the auxiliary began helping members of the community with scholarship funds through the years and with other projects to raise funds for things needed at the hospital.

Proceeds from items sold at the Care Package go to the group's scholarship fund.

Current auxiliary secretary, Pat Gilbreath, whose husband, David Gilbreath, is CPGH chief executive officer, thanked the volunteers for their hard work in raising scholarship funds and thanked the hospital staff for supporting the gift shop.

"We have been open since October, and we've raised $1,100 for the fund," Pat Gilbreath said.

The shop offers small gift items, including handmade items such as bibs, blankets and pillows, stuffed animals, books and puzzles, greeting cards and stationery.

Also for sale are sundry items, including aspirin, candy and gum.

The Care Package also will feature works by an area artist each month.

"This month, we have wood works of Keith Eckerman," said Kathy Phillips, a volunteer and co-manager of the shop.

Eckerman is an employee in the hospital's Respiratory Department, but Phillips said artists need not be employees to have work featured in the shop.

Other locally produced items for sale are Alaska Woobies light blankets crafted by Jeannie Hayes; and bibs and pillows, handcrafted by Ruth Kataiva, who also makes large Christmas stockings to put newborn infants in in the Maternity Department.

The shop also carries seasonal gift items, currently featuring many gifts for Christmas.

The Care Package is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. Purchases may be made with cash, check or credit cards.

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