(Article reprinted from Virginia Gay Hospital’s bi-annual publication, “Thrive” Fall/Winter 2016 issue)


The Virginia Gay Hospital Healthcare Foundation is built on a long standing tradition of giving evidenced by this sample of legacy donors from years past.

Virginia Gay Hospital Healthcare Foundation is more than just the Tree of Lights annual appeal for funds each holiday season. It’s an integral part of providing healthcare in Benton County.

Dr. Maggie Mangold: “Many times a parent tells me the book I shared with their child and sent home with them was their child’s first book. For parents struggling to keep the lights on and the kids fed, books can be a luxury, of both time and money. That’s why I believe in this program and am so pleased that our community and all the primary care providers at Virginia Gay support this program.”

In 2014, the Foundation began raising funds to start a local “Reach Out And Read” program.  To date the program has received donations of $10,000 and has given more than 2,000 books to children visiting Virginia Gay clinics.

Rick Murphy: “In 1992, my mother died of breast cancer at the age of 53. Six years later my dad died of colon cancer. Our sister Jill, always the brain in the family, switched careers to fight cancer; she became a cancer researcher. It was just five years after dad died, in March of 2003, that cancer took my sister Jill’s life when she was just 40 years old.”

During the past 18 years the Murphy Memorial Golf Tournament has raised more than $300,000 to support cancer research and local health care initiatives. A portion of each year’s proceeds have been generously donated to the Virginia Gay Healthcare Foundation. 

Kim Frank: Last year our tree walk raised about $10,000 for the Foundation. But maybe more importantly, it raises the spirits of patients and staff. The holidays are a rough time to have a loved one in the hospital. This is our way of helping to support our commitment to providing excellent health care, and making life a little easier for others as well.”

Now in its 7th year, the Tree Walk has raised more than $50,000 to improve both body and spirit. 

Deanne Halstead: “Gifts of Hope was there to help pay medical bills from my surgery last June. It was so easy. I didn’t need to make a separate appointment to fill-out an application. If you need assistance paying for your deductible, medical tests, or help defraying all the miscellaneous costs of cancer care, just talk with your primary health care provider during one of your visits.”
“I have insurance but was left with some hefty bills because of the deductible. Gifts of Hope paid $2,500 toward my medical expenses and that was a tremendous relief. It’s such a great program because it helps women concentrate on getting through a tough time; getting stronger and moving forward.”

To date “Gifts of Hope” has raised more than $77,000 with the Breast Cancer Survivors of Benton County providing annual support through their 5K Run/Walk. So far the program has provided $40,000 in assistance to patients. Other major donors include the Virginia Gay Healthcare Foundation and the Murphy Memorial Golf Tournament.

The Virginia Gay Healthcare Foundation is more than an organization leading efforts to raise funds for major improvements, like the new clinic under construction in Vinton. The Foundation makes a difference in peoples’ lives every day, but relies on donations to accomplish that mission.

Robin Martin, Director of the Foundation, recently shared the Foundation’s goals for 2016 and beyond when she said, “We have two major goals for the Foundation as we move into the future, one is to make it known that donations to the Foundation help patients and their families every day. The other is to encourage estate planning to support health care in Benton County for decades to come.”

Virginia Gay is one of a small number of completely independent, small community hospitals. Surrounding Vinton are other small hospitals, almost all of them receive support from taxes; as much as $1 Million each year. Virginia Gay is an independent non-profit that doesn’t receive financial support from the city of Vinton or Benton County.

“The Virginia Gay Healthcare Foundation is the only source of financial support for the hospital and our clinics other than what is received from providing services to patients,” says Robin. “And for that reason the work of Virginia Gay’s Foundation is essential.”

The Foundation is guided by a volunteer Board of Directors. On the board are Don Eells, John Anderson, Don Logan, Dick Kerdus, Ann Harrison, Brooks Burkhart, Jim Hodgson, Dr. Mangold and Ted Mann. Together with Director Robin Martin, the Foundation is focused on moving toward a day when the Foundation is able to provide increased support to all facets of healthcare in Benton County.

Don Eells, the current board president says, “Just as the VGH Hospital and Clinics represent a tradition of healing, the VGH Foundation represents a tradition of giving from our community; starting with our founding gift from Virginia Walcutt Gay.  People give to help others and they give as an act of faith that should the day arise when they need medical help, Virginia Gay will be here to help them.”

To support the work of the Virginia Gay Healthcare Foundation, please visit their donation page. Donations of any amount are welcome and appreciated. For additional information or questions concerning the Virginia Gay Healthcare Foundation, contact Robin Martin at 319-472-6375.