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Close to Home

By Staff | Dec 21, 2018

Sue Sitter/PCT The women of Merchants Bank present a $10,000 check to HAMC Foundation's Cathy Jelsing (center right).

Financial gifts from several area businesses and organizations have given the Heart of America Medical Center a holiday boost toward its planned purchase of new 3D mammography equipment.

Cathy Jelsing, coordinator of Good Samaritan Health Services Foundation, credited area financial institutions, charitable trusts and the Rugby Job Development Authority for bringing HAMC to within about $7,000 of their fundraising goal of $380,000, which includes the $355,000 equipment plus $25,000 for installation and technology upgrade costs.

Jelsing explained, “Obtaining 3D mammography for the hospital is very important for two main reasons. It’s now the standard in breast cancer diagnosis without it, we’re not providing women with the best standard of care. The other part of it is, because our providers know that, they were starting to send women out of our hospital to other facilities in Minot and Devils Lake for 3D mammography.

“So, not only do those women have the hassle and hardship of having to drive to another community; we’re losing business,” Jelsing continued. “So, it’s an economic (matter). That’s why the JDA agreed that this was an important investment to make in the community, because it is part of the local economy. So, that will keep these women and their families here in town for their medical care, and that’s a good thing.”

The JDA presented Good Samaritan Health Services Foundation with a check for $10,000 last Thursday afternoon. That amount will be matched with a grant from St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation in Minot.

JDA Executive Director Jessica Brossart told the Tribune, “We are glad to retain and expand jobs in the radiology department at HAMC.”

The JDA had voted to donate the money after Dustin Hager, PA-C and Hospital Pharmacist Erik Christenson made an appeal on behalf of HAMC for the project at the JDA’s regular October meeting.

Hager and Christenson presented a letter at the meeting, which read in part, “As Rugby’s largest employer, HAMC plays a role in the physical and fiscal health of our community. Bringing 3D mammography to HAMC will secure hospital jobs and increase revenue.”

Local financial institutions agreed on the importance of updated equipment at HAMC to provide the best care for local patients and keep patients, and hospital jobs, in the community.

When Tanner Johnson, branch market president of First International Bank and Trust, presented a $10,000 check last Thursday to Good Samaritan Health Services Foundation member Lynda Childress, he said, “There are a lot of people affected by breast cancer, and it’s a very important thing for the community to support. So, from the bank’s standpoint, it was a no-brainer to be able to participate. We were happy for the opportunity.”

Representatives from Farm Credit Services visited HAMC Thursday as well, presenting a $5,000 check from their Pat-Now Community Fund.

“We have a Pat Now community grant fund that we work with causes like that in our area for Farm Credit Services of America, and we’re glad to contribute to a worthy cause, and that’s where our funds come from,” said Farm Credit Services Marketing Vice President Todd Erickson.

“Pat Now stands for patronage now; we have a different type of system with a cooperative. We don’t pay patronage at the end of the year; we give our savings in an interest rate up front,” Erickson explained.

Merchants Bank, Rugby, joined the effort Tuesday, contributing a $10,000 check toward the goal. Craig Johnson, Merchants Bank’s president and CEO said, “Even if this saves one life, that’s enough to make this a good investment. I think this is going to be a fantastic service to the community, and Merchants Bank is just thrilled to be a part of that the owners and the staff of the bank.”

Jelsing said fundraising efforts began with a foundation golf tournament last spring.

“It’s been over a long period of time, pooling all this money together,” she noted of the fundraising project, which the foundation named “Close to Home”. The name emphasizes the point that local women needing 3D mammograms can get them in Rugby.

As Jelsing spread the word about the community’s need for newer equipment, she said more organizations responded.

“It’s just been really exciting to see all the organizations that have stepped up to say they agree this is an important thing,” Jelsing noted. “Of course, the USDA grant was huge $133,000 that we received before, then the Bremer grant.”

Jelsing said the Otto Bremer Foundation contributed $100,000 to the project. When HAMC received the check, “then we knew we could proceed (toward the goal),” she said and smiled.

Jelsing said with about $315,000 raised toward the purchase goal, the hospital foundation is confident Rugby and surrounding communities will put them over the top.

“Now, we have the Twice Blessed campaign. That’s through St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation in Minot,” she said.

As it did with the JDA’s contribution, St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation will match donations made up to $10,000. Jelsing said some individual donors have participated in the program, including the Gallows Club of Towner and Rugby Dental, who each gave $1,000.

Donations may be made online at sjchfnd.com/organizations/medical-rugby/ , or by contacting HAMC at 776-5455, extension 2149.

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