Oliver Rotary supports hospital drive

Two key fundraisers sponsored by the Rotary Club of Oliver are giving a big boost for regional health care.

Oliver Rotary hosted its 19th annual Gala Dinner and Live Auction on April 22 at the Oliver Community Centre. Six local restaurants/caterers served an array of food, paired with fine wines from six local wineries. Proceeds are donated to various local and international causes, this year including the South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Medical Foundation.

The second big event will see the Harlem Ambassadors bring their hilarious basketball antics to town, taking on the South Okanagan All-Stars on Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m. at SOSS. Again, proceeds will go the SOS Medical Foundation.

Oliver Rotary has pledged $30,000 over three years to the Foundation’s campaign to provide the medical equipment for Penticton Regional Hospital’s new patient care tower.

Past-president Brian Goy noted Oliver Rotary has been a strong community supporter for more than 70 years, making it among the longest-established Rotary clubs in the Okanagan. Jennifer Roussel serves as president for 2016-17.

The active 15-member organization has sponsored numerous community projects over the years, including Rotary Beach on Tuc-el-Nuit Lake, and it supports many other local organizations and events. Rotary’s Highway to Healing program provides travel assistance to families whose children must undergo medical treatment in Vancouver.

Goy said the move to support the Penticton hospital expansion was not a difficult decision.

The volunteers work hard to get those funds from the community and we try very hard to donate to things we feel the community needs and wants, he said.

The PRH expansion certainly fits that description. The hospital is something we are all going to use sometime in our life, with the new tower and all the equipment that comes in, he said. It would be nice not to have to go to Kelowna (for certain treatments).

Although Oliver is home to South Okanagan General Hospital which has been in the news in recent weeks, local residents realize that more serious cases are transferred to Penticton, Goy said. Obviously there’s always discussion about whether it’s going to impact our own hospital here, but we felt that was not an issue.

Fellow Rotarian Pat Hampson noted SOGH will always be available for emergency treatment and to stabilize patients. It will always be an operating hospital, but those patients who cannot be treated locally are sent to Penticton for critical care, Hampson said.

Construction of the $312.5-million PRH expansion is now well underway. The new six-storey David E. Kampe Tower should be ready for patients by early 2019.