Focus on Fostoria - April_25b_04

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Fostoria Focus - April 25, 2004

Good Shepherd Bids to Establish Benevolent Fund
By Leonard Skonecki

"Now there's a story for the Focus," Greg Peiffer said. "Crystal Macias got outbid for Cleveland Indians tickets."

Greg knows. After all, he's an auctioneer. Crystal is Good Shepherd's human resource director and a serious Tribe fan.

Bidding was the name of the game at the Good Shepherd Home Benevolent Dinner and Auction on March 25. The event was held to raise money for the benevolent fund to aid residents whose financial resources have evaporated.

The evening was an unqualified success. Over $7,000 was raised.

"We were pleasantly surprised with the total amount raised," Good Shepherd Administrator Chris Widman said.

The purpose of the benevolent fund is to replace what are known as Hill-Burton funds. Hill-Burton is a federal program operated by the Department of Health and Human Services. Hill-Burton is the name of a 1946 law.

Not all nursing homes receive Hill-Burton funding. Good Shepherd does and in return, it agrees to provide a certain amount of free or reduced cost care each year.

Those funds, once thought ample, are now dwindling. For the past 18 months the GSH board has been addressing that need.

"We've had a dramatic increase in the number of people who have outlived their resources," Chris said. "We project the Hill-Burton money will run out by July 4th of this year."

Good Shepherd's goal is to boost the benevolent fund to $250,000.

In addition to the dinner and auction proceeds, donations were received from the Bucci Group, Seneca Medical, Diller Medical, Omnicare and Eagle Creek Church of the Brethren.

While the auction had a serious purpose, a good time was had by all. Fostoria auctioneer Greg Peiffer presided over the waving of bid cards and the spending of money.

He was ably assisted by Good Shepherd's "DVWs," (designated Vanna Whites) Linda Wilhelm and Kim Reiter.

Over 40 items were donated by area businesses and individuals, everything from baseball tickets to a diamond necklace to an Ohio State autographed football to dinner theater tickets to a digital toaster (no lie).

On behalf of the GSH board, Charles Knight put up a special item in connection with Chris Widman. "Chris is notorious for not wearing a tie," he said. "The board is auctioning off the privilege of having Chris wear a tie."

Every $20 bid meant one day Chris will wear a tie. Over 20 bidders bought up 33 "Chris Widman Tie Days."

How does Chris feel about his impending wardrobe upgrade?

"I can't wait," he said.

In addition to the auction, three members of the Good Shepherd family were honored for their service by the Fellowship of Brethren Homes.

Ray Smith received the Volunteer Recognition, Distinguished Honoree Award.

Earl Lehmann was named Trustee of the Year.

The Fellowship of Brethren Homes is an association of 24 nursing homes operated by the Church of the Brethren in 12 states. Chris is the current chair of the Fellowship.

This year is Good Shepherd's 100th anniversary. The Benevolent Dinner and Auction was the first in a series of special events that will commemorate the home's centennial year.

In addition to the auction, there was musical entertainment by GSH staffers Liz Morgret and Kevin Gordon and a talk on Good Shepherd's history by ... by, oh yes, by the author of this article.

Maintaining quality resident care in the face of the rapidly increasing cost of long-term care is one of the challenges facing nursing homes all across the country. Good Shepherd's Benevolent Dinner and Auction is shaping up as an annual part of dealing with that issue.

"We're definitely going to do this again next year. This is a tremendous success'" Chris said.

In fact Chris says the date for the 2005 auction is already set – April 14.

Incidentally, the Focus is pleased to report that it was ultimately a success for Crystal, too. There were several batches of baseball tickets up for bid and Crystal ended up with one of them.

Go Tribe.
Go Good Shepherd.


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