Castor has had a functioning hospital in the community since Oct. 29, 1911.
Since that time, many changes have taken place within the facility, and within health care in general.
While the nuns who originally founded Castor’s Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital are long since gone, much of what they started, including the ministry and tradition of service, continues to this day.
The Castor hospital remains under Covenant Health, a Catholic health care provider working in partnership with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to bring health care to the residents of the area.
Most of the basic needs of the hospital are provided by Covenant, or AHS; however, there are equipment needs for the site that go over and above the basics. That is where the Community and Foundation hospital boards come in.
The Our Lady of the Rosary Community Board is the fundraising arm of the Castor hospital, with a goal of raising awareness in the community about the hospital, as well as hosting community events and fundraisers. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic the board has been unable to do much work over the last two years.
A second board is the Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital Foundation, which is a part of Covenant Health and the money managing board. According to board chair Wendy Coppock, the foundation is responsible for managing all donations made to the hospital and contributing them back to the “health of Castor.”
The foundation’s mandate is to provide items of “lasting impact” in the community.
Over the years, items approved by the board and supplied to the hospital have been updated blood pressure monitors, vein finders and the body analysis machine used by the doctor’s clinic.
“We like to look at the extras, the latest technology, working within the parameters of Covenant Health,” said Coppock.
“It gets the equipment into (the staff’s) hands sooner.”
With pandemic-era restrictions easing, Coppock is optimistic that the Community Board can get back into the community, raising awareness about the work the hospital is doing and in general “promoting the longevity of the hospital” so that it can continue to provide supportive and compassionate care.
“We want to work with staff by providing them the tools they need to be successful,” said Coppock.
In addition to supporting the hospital directly, the Foundation also supports youth in the community through a couple of different scholarships. Rural students done their first year of a health care program are eligible to apply for the scholarships every fall.
Currently, there are eight members who sit on the two boards. Volunteer board members sit on both boards, and meetings are generally held once every two months during the year with both the community and foundation meetings held back to back.
Volunteers are able to volunteer for two four-year terms before they have to step down for a period of time.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the boards can contact Coppock, any of the board members, or pick up an application package from Tammy Frank at the front desk of the Castor Hospital.
“(They are) very important board(s),” said Coppock.
“I just believe there is so much we can offer our community in that capacity. We’re always interested in having new voices in coming to the table.”