The Big Stone Health Care Foundation invites you to help celebrate thirty years of a community coming together to say we deserve the best... Big Stone Health Care Foundation to Celebrate 30 Years with a Picnic

The Big Stone Health Care Foundation invites you to help celebrate thirty years of a community coming together to say we deserve the best in health care right here where we live. Here is to thirty years of innovation, thirty years of volunteers, thirty years of success, and to thirty more! Join us July 10 from 11:00a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the OAHS parking lot for a picnic of pulled pork, door prizes, and a “short” speech from Dr. Bob. We look forward to celebrating with you!

The Big Stone Health Care Foundation was formed in 1989 at a time when rural hospitals were struggling and even closing their doors. Ortonville was determined they would succeed. A steering committee was formed of staff and community members with the idea that this Foundation would support the area health care needs where budgets could not. The initial goal was to raise $1 million dollars in two years. Through community pledges, staff payroll donations, and some big commitments, this goal was achieved and the standard was set.

The foundation is formed of seven board members: Dr. Robert S. Ross, Roman Taffe, Michael Rausch, Debra Barnhardt, Dr. Greg Peterson, Paul Strong, and Gene Hausauer. Director Vanessa Lhotka-Meyer is the sole employee. However, the countless volunteers and donors are the backbone of the foundation. Throughout the years, the foundation has seen generous and unique donations ranging from a home, to parcels of land and family heirlooms. With each donation, the foundation has found an innovative way to use it to aid in the mission. This innovation is key to the foundation’s success. Brainstorming and hosting new fundraisers was also fundamental. This became a way to not only raise funds, but unite staff with the community they served and build bridges from acquaintances to friendships. We just hosted the 26th Annual Gala in April, and we look forward to hosting the 28th Annual Oak Tree Classic Golf Tournament. We will also be continuing our partnership with Linda’s Fashions at our style show this fall.

Throughout the years, the foundation’s priorities have shifted as the health care field itself is an ever-changing community. The foundation has much to be proud of including helping fund in part the Dialysis Unit, OAHS Hospital Replacement Project, Fairway View Senior Neighborhoods, purchasing the Fairway View Bus, and many others. Despite these achievements, the most important investment this foundation has made is in our people. Recruiting providers by helping to alleviate their student loan debt, providing forgivable loan assistance to staff pursuing further education, scholarships to high school seniors, and funding training for EMT’s and Paramedics is where the bulk of the foundation dollars are used. These people in turn have invested themselves in providing the best care possible to our patients. These patients are after all, our friends, neighbors, and family.

At a time when headlines are reporting negative news and rural health care facilities are struggling, we are proud to say we are thriving and looking to the future. With three physicians signed on to join our team in the coming year, Ortonville Area Health Services will have a total of 14 providers. The unique partnership Ortonville Area Health Services, Northside Medical Center, and the Big Stone Health Care Foundation share is key to recruiting these providers who in turn immerse themselves in and enhance our communities.


Staff Writer

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