The Lompoc Hospital Women’s Auxiliary celebrates its 75th year on Saturday with an evening banquet to honor its members and supporters.
The nonprofit organization was founded in 1944 by Louise Mollath, who was also its first president. Mollath arrived in Lompoc from San Francisco in 1938 and came across the Patch-It Club, a group of women who mended old clothes.
That group eventually became the Women’s Auxiliary of the Lompoc Community Hospital, and held its first meeting on Aug. 22, 1944, at the home of hospital superintendent Josephine Lacey. The group is now named the Lompoc Hospital Women’s Auxiliary.
Auxiliary members started out mending linens for the hospital and bringing fresh fruit and vegetables to patients. Twenty years later, in 1962, auxiliary members founded the hospital Gift Shop, as a way to raise funds for needs at the hospital.
Auxiliary members donated handmade items to be sold, such as knitted baby items, aprons, stockings, jams, and canned vegetables.
At both the former hospital on C Street, and the current hospital on East Ocean Avenue, the Auxiliary’s Gift Shop has been prominently located near the main lobby entrance. As gift shop workers, auxiliary volunteers donate about 2,500 hours every year to the hospital.
Sales of items from the store help the Women’s Auxiliary buy local newspapers for patients and residents of the hospital and Comprehensive Care Center (CCC); beauty supplies for residents of the CCC; and helped establish the Life Alert program.
Other donations throughout the years included an infant mannequin for CPR training and a birthing chair. The Women’s Auxiliary also contributes to the Lompoc Hospital District Foundation, for its special projects.
On its anniversary year, the Women’s Auxiliary became the recipient of a significant donation from the estate of Edythe Virgene Ayers, a long-time auxiliary member and membership chairwoman. The bequest was donated to the hospital in her memory and is earmarked for improvements to the Diagnostic Imaging Department. Ayers died in January 2018 at the age of 93.
The Women’s Auxiliary’s incoming president is Lola Day.
— Nora K. Wallace for Lompoc Valley Medical Center.