Hospital campaign brings in big bucks

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A substantial donation to The Memorial Hospital's fundraising campaign may have sparked fervor in the effort, campaigners said.

Steamboat-based TIC Holdings Inc. pledged $100,000, said Pam Thompson, TMH community relations director.

"I really feel that the donation generated enthusiasm and momentum in asking the community for donations," Thompson said. "I think more than anything it's exciting that a Routt County employer who has Moffat County employees knows the need for buy-in."

Hospital officials and volunteers are working to raise $1 million in community-based donations to put toward the cost of constructing a partial replacement hospital. The plan is to keep administrative offices at the hospital's Russell Street location and build a new facility for patient services on property owned by the Moffat County Affilliated Junior College District west of Shadow Mountain Subdivision.

Lynn Villard, the controller for the operations at TIC, was instrumental in securing the donation, Thompson said. Villard also is a volunteer campaigner who is helping solicit funds for a new hospital.

Hospital campaigners are more than halfway to their goal of raising $1 million by Oct. 14. Thompson reported the latest tally at $529,000.

But not all the area's big businesses have donated.

Thompson said the area's mines contributed money during the hospital's initial campaign in 2003. That campaign netted $200,000, which will be added to current totals.

At that time, hospital officials planned to renovate The Memorial Hospital at its current location.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission spokesman Jim VanSomeren said power plant officials have been approached about donating to the campaign but haven't come forward with a contribution.

Thompson said campaigners intend to approach big-box store officials from Kmart, Murdoch's and Wal-Mart for donations. Cook Chevrolet donated $25,000, and campaigners plan to approach Craig Ford and Victory Motors.

Hospital officials decided not to ask voters for a mill levy increase to pay for a new facility. If approved, the levy would have increased taxes for all property owners; however, the power plant and mines would be responsible for the biggest increase as they represent the county's 10 largest taxpayers.

Campaigner Jeannie Thornberry said she and others working to raise money for a new hospital are appreciative of every donation. But, she said, it also is encouraging that a large company such as TIC donated because officials considered the positive regional impact a new hospital would create.

"There's a lot of people who live in Moffat County but work in Routt County," she said. "It would be nice if other people in Routt County noticed that, too."

Thornberry said donations of any amount are appreciated.

"It's awesome to get really big donations, but I don't think we should undermine people who are willing to give $100," Thornberry said. "People in Moffat County work hard for their money, and they're not easily parted with it. But they want to see a new hospital."

Thompson said it seems likely that campaigners can make the $1 million mark by the Oct. 14 goal. Donations can be made any time after that point.

Hospital officials are planning a victory party at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Holiday Inn.

The event will feature a Texas hold 'em competition with prizes and some light refreshments.

"We want to make it a huge community thing," Thompson said. "It's just for fun. It's for anybody to come and have a good time."

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