DEL NORTE— Rio Grande Hospital hosted their annual fundraising event for the 11th year, Keeping the Dream Alive, on Saturday night, Aug. 12 at the Del Norte schools bus barn. The event included dinner, a brief program about the important healthcare needs which Rio Grande Hospital provides in Del Norte, Monte Vista, South Fork and Creede, a dinner and an auction.
Dinner was provided for the first time this year by Smokin’ Johnny’s BBQ, owned by Johnny Ward and his wife, Dr. Tiffany Ward. The Wards and Valley Meat donated much of the smoked pork used for the dinner. Potatoes were donated for the potato salad by Jeff McCullogh of the Spud Seller and Shamrock Foods also contributed.
Harms thanked attendees for their continual support and dedication to Rio Grande Hospital, announcing before the auction the event had raised $25,700 in donations so far. Harms presented a special thank you to Jordan Brown, the auctioneer who travels every year from Texas to support the event. Harms also presented Colorado State House District 62 Representative Donald Valdez and Colorado Senate District 35 Senator Larry Crowder with special awards for their work on Senate Bill 267 which made the hospital provider fee an enterprise fund and protected it from elimination. Harms stressed how losing the provider fee “would have meant possibly closing the hospital and major program cuts to other rural hospitals,” noting Crowder, a Republican, was especially criticized for his stance by others in his party but stood up for the Valley’s healthcare needs nonetheless. Crowder, in turn, presented Harms with the pen SB-267 was signed with.
Harms explained how the hospital has grown over the years, from five million dollars in revenue when they reopened 21 years ago to 30 million dollars in revenue last year. The women’s health luncheon also doubled in attendance this July. Beginning in October, Rio Grande Hospital will continue to meet their patients’ needs by expanding their physical therapy space, expanding the emergency room, expanding their currently “five-by-five” business office and developing a bigger conference room which will be more readily available for the hospital and other community organizations’ use. These building expansions will also enable extended respiratory therapy services, now housed in a supply room, more cardiac rehabilitation services, more wound rehabilitation services and improvements to the surgery suite, including new knee scope equipment. The presentation also noted how the Monte Vista Medical Clinic used all local construction companies and other organizations, continuing Rio Grande Hospital’s legacy of serving local communities and honoring Dr. Norman Haug’s healthcare dream.
The events closed with the auction, featuring items donated by several local organizations, businesses and individuals including Monte Vista Golf Club, Catlin’s Greenhouse, La Garita Mountain Nursery, Terry Maxson, Wolf Creek Ski Area, Joe Mellott Jewelry, The Columbine, Brooke Stone, Grande Natural Meats, Creede Olive Oil Company, Three Barrel Brewing, Colorado Eagle, Dr. Dale Berkbigler, Kathy’s Fabric Trunk, Monte Vista Co-op, Haefeli Honey Farm, San Luis Valley Brewing, Cattails Golf Course, Eagle Air Med, 4UR Ranch, Southwest Liquors, Antlers Lodge and Restaurant, Creede Repertory Theatre, Rio Grande Angler, Doc’s Outdoor Sports, Sorum Tractor, Alamosa Home, WSB Computer Services, Tammy Cliché Art, Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, Pepsi Beverage Company, Kristi Mountain Sports, Ken Krahn Photography, Rio Grande Club & Resort, Terry & Sharon Haynie, Rainbow Grocery and Lodge, Tumble Weed Sports, Sears Hometown Store, Sand Dunes Swimming Pool, Tomkins Hardware and Lumber, Scurvy Dog Woodworking, Centura Health, Coloring Outside the Lines, Monte Vista Eye Care and two anonymous donors.
Brown joked the auction and dinner “…gets bigger every year, just like my pants size” and lived up to his reputation of both entertainer and auctioneer, when Harms stated “some people come just to see him.” Brown joked throughout the auction, saying of Dr. Berkbigler’s plane ride “He didn’t say you couldn’t yell at him; just don’t take over the plane! Make sure he comes back though, they need him at the hospital,” and after joking about not knowing the types of wine in a wine rack, “well, if you know what they are, I’ll sell them to you!”
The highest bid went to four sets of two rounds of golf at Rio Grande Club and Resort for $700 with the least being a jade and sterling silver three-drop necklace pendant for $130. The auction in total raised nearly another $10,000 for the hospital’s vital upcoming projects.
Marilyn Davey, owner of Shades, Quilts and Etc., assembled themed baskets for door prizes, including camping gear and coffee, among others. Davey also assembled the gift bags distributed to donors of $1,000 or more. Dale and Janice Myers also provided the sound system, and were thanked by Rio Grande Hospital CEO Arlene Harms for their services, even when competing events were available. Harms also thanked Marty and Bonnie Asplin, who serve on the Rio Grande Hospital Foundation and Upper Rio Grande Economic Development for their invaluable work organizing the event. Other sponsors included Centura Health, Del Norte Bank, Eagle Air Med, Rio Grande Savings and Loan, Community Banks of Colorado, Dr. Richard and Cheryl Santi, Parkview Hospital and San Luis Valley Federal Bank. Additional contributors included the Windsor Hotel and Restaurant, Dos Rios Restaurant, South Fork Lumber, Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant, Rockaway Café, Kips Grill, Boogies Restaurant, Nino’s Mexican Restaurant, Big R, Pizza Hut, Quiller Gallery, Two Rivers BBQ, Baldo’s Mexican Restaurant, Quincy’s Steak and Spirits, Beauty Max, Stars and Strikes, Dairy Queen, Chavolo’s Mexican Restaurant, The Mystic Biscuit, Alamosa Building Supply, Miller Coors, Mr. & Mrs. Dale Myers, Del Norte Rotary, Del Norte Fire District, Del Norte School District, Robert and Karen Willis, Dan and Kay Street, Allen and Agnes Heersink, Hathorn Construction Inc. and Absolute Shine Autobody and Paint.