The Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund
Employees of Thomas Health are important donors to The Foundation. In 2016, 1,161 employees provided $45,713 to support the areas selected by The Employee Club to benefit from these charitable gifts. While emergency relief, family scholarships and providing holiday baskets to patients who are hospitalized during the Christmas season are important annual allocations, in 2016, a one-in-a-hundred year situation created overwhelming need and numerous opportunities for the Foundation to spring to action.
Dr. Leela Patel, a Foundation donor, contacted Foundation Board Member, Paula Vineyard, and shared the troubling news of what she witnessed as a care provider in Clay County. It was at her request that the Foundation leverage support to purchase infant and child safety seats to those in need. Together with a gift from Elana Health, the Foundation staff delivered a box truck full of new infant and child car safety seats to the Clay County Health Department. Dr. Patel shared health department director, Angela Brown’s thanks, “It’s with deep heartfelt gratitude the people of Clay County and I appreciate your personal attention and efforts. Your sincerity will be well rewarded by kind wishes and good will from the flood victim.”
Meanwhile, the staff at the Foundation had been contacted by another concerned physician, pediatrician Dr. Melanie Winnings, who inspired a pajama and book drive for the children most affected by the flood. Through the Foundation’s Chics for Charity network, the response was overwhelming. Volunteers packaged over 200 individual child sized pajamas with an age appropriate story book that were distributed through local Pediatrician offices to their patients in most need.
The response from the people of the Thomas Health System Recovering from natural disasters, like the flood that hit our region during summer of 2016, highlights the character of the people who must live with the aftermath. Before the rain stopped, the Foundation and the Thomas Health staff began implementing strategies to help those most affected by the devastating effects of mother nature.
After gathering a huge volume of donated supplies, Thomas Health teams headed to the affected areas to provide tetanus shots to some and provide comfort to numerous others in any way that they could.
Beyond the shock of the damaged communities, the true spirit of West Virginia shined through in the inherent kindness of the people met during these difficult times. Many Thomas Health employees reported that while they were visiting people in their flooded out homes, the first thing that they wanted to know was whether or not the team had taken care of their neighbors. If they hadn’t they were pretty insistent that they did. Additionally, these gracious people were very concerned about the comfort of our team and repeatedly asked if they needed water or needed to sit and cool off before moving on to the next house. Our community exemplifies all that makes West Virginia a special place. Regardless of how we get knocked down, through natural processes or economic downturns, we will work together to make sure that we all succeed in the long run.
Our own family’s loss
Physical Therapist, Mark Linkinogger, lost everything in his apartment when it flooded with multiple feet of water. He was evacuated at 3:30 am for safety. The Foundation’s employee emergency relief fund provided necessary financial support until he could put the pieces back together again.
We remember, Lesa Hess, an employee with Thomas Health System who lost her life in the flooding after leaving work on her way home in Elkview.