Through longstanding community support, our vision and mission is aligned with the charge entrusted to us to offer remarkable quality care for our families, friends and neighbors. The Hill Country Memorial Hospital Foundation and our donors make a significant difference with their commitment to create healthy in our communities.
Chairman Gala XVI Steering Committee
Penny McBride serves on the Hill Country Memorial Board of Trustees. She is President of the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce. Her business column, My Two Cents, appears weekly in the Chamber newsletter and the Fredericksburg Standard.
In 1993, while working for the Fredericksburg Visitor’s Bureau I was invited to be on the Gala Steering Committee and my employer bought my ticket to the Gala. I was married to Neal Reeh at that time. We were hoping to go to the Gala together. We were in our mid-twenties then and not making much money, but we scraped together enough to buy his Gala ticket.
At that particular Gala, the table centerpieces were selling for $25. Neal and I wanted to be part of contributing something more to the evening. So we dug deep and put together our loose change and bought the centerpiece. We discovered that night that the Gala had become more than just a party for us. Afterward, we talked about how great it would be to do more. In the beginning we contributed our time. We managed the Gala ticket reservations at one point. Later we became Co-Chairs of the Gala. We were able to sponsor a Gala table when we were blessed with more income. Over time, we became more robust supporters.
The hospital is my philanthropic focus. It meets all my personal passions for giving. My parents were involved in the original fundraising for the hospital and their names are on the donor walls. So giving to the hospital is important to my family and part of my heritage.
I am also very passionate about giving an annual stretch gift. There are countless great local causes in our community, but I cannot think of one organization like the hospital that will benefit every resident in their lifetime. Patients and families come through the hospital at their brightest moments and their darkest hours. Giving time and money that will touch a person’s life is very gratifying to me.
As a member of the HCM Board of Trustees, I can see that without the community giving we could not operate this hospital the way we do. I have also gained more insight into why fundraisers, like the Gala are so important and so impactful. Knowing this makes me even more passionate about wanting the Gala to be a big success. It is a beautiful party but at the end of the day the goal of the Gala is to give the hospital as big a check as is possible.
I tell my friends anytime you can raise $600,000 dollars in a town of 11,000 people—in one night in a cattle pasture—it is a great thing.
At 97 my grandmother had a serious accident that required hospitalization at HCM and a complex elbow surgery. Our family, along with many other families, spent time in the beautiful ICU waiting area. After my grandmother’s surgery, I stayed with her and slept in the recliner chair next to her bed in ICU. When I woke, I discovered the nurse had placed a blanket over me and left a glass of water nearby. My grandmother recovered and lived to be 101 years. I have always been grateful that the Gala raised money to build the ICU. It made a big difference for my grandmother and for our family.
My family has benefitted from several Gala supported projects. As an example, my niece had her baby in the Women’s Pavilion, which was helped along by a previous Gala. Visiting her and seeing her whole family camped out in this wonderful environment made me feel really good that I help raise funds for the project. Right now our MRI arrangement outside of the hospital does not provide a remarkable patient experience. That will change because people care enough to give and fund the new MRI Inside project. The patient and family experience will be safer, more accurate, and comfortable.
As a member of the HCM Board of Trustees, I sit on the hospital’s quality committee. We visited the hospital’s Restore joint replacement program during one of our quarterly field trips.
I left Restore on fire after learning the quality metrics of the program. So I often encourage friends to come to our hospital for their joint replacement because I know they will have superior outcomes and a quicker recovery.
I tell them you have all this at the hospital because someone at sometime cared. You can write a check or give of your time.
As the next group of torchbearers you will decide whether the legacy stops with us or continues with you.