The Fraternal Order of Eagles’ basic principle of “People Helping People” is perfectly reflected by their support for Penticton Regional Hospital.
The Penticton Eagles Aerie and the Eagles Auxiliary are donating at least $30,000 to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign to provide medical equipment for the new patient care tower at PRH.
Dave Smith, secretary of the Eagles Aerie, says they continually strive to keep their “helping people” philosophy as locally oriented as possible.
“When a project comes up like the Penticton hospital tower, we first and foremost start to raise funds as a local group,” he said.
Jane Stephens, past-president of the Penticton Eagles Auxiliary, said rather than zero in on a specific medical problem, the PRH tower campaign helps everyone.
“The tower will help the whole of the South Okanagan-Similkameen,” she said. “As we’re an aging population, we need that facility.”
The Eagles and their auxiliary have a combined membership of about 600.
“A lot of people volunteer their time – we’re really lucky at having that capability,” Smith said.
The Eagles raise much of their funds through weekly dinners, 50/50 and meat draws. The auxiliary’s fundraisers include some catering and a concession stand at the Penticton Scottish Festival. Members also bake hundreds of apple pies each fall to help send diabetic children to summer camp.
The two Penticton Eagles organizations plan to continue raising money for the hospital for the next few years.
Smith also sits on the Eagles’ International (Canada/U.S.) Board of Grand Trustees. Should he be chosen to remain in office, Smith is slated to become Grand Worthy President in 2020 – a position which will allow him to donate $50,000 to the charity of his choice.
Now that construction of the new tower is underway, Smith predicts support among the Aerie membership and the entire community will continue to grow. He pointed to the enthusiastic applause at a recent Eagles’ dinner in response to the announcement that funds raised go to the PRH expansion.
Stephens noted the hospital expansion will benefit the entire community.
“I think probably half our members have had to use the hospital at some point,” she said. “Naturally, you’re going to support something that helps you.”
Construction of the new PRH tower is now underway. It is expected to be ready for patients by early 2019, when work will begin on Phase 2 – a major expansion of the hospital’s Emergency Department.