Skip to main content

Foundation Gala Drives Fundraising Efforts With Irish Twist

Foundation news | Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Contact: Patrick Flynn

The Grande Ronde Hospital Foundation used St. Patrick’s Day as an opportunity to bring a slice of Ireland to eastern Oregon for its annual gala. In its second year, the gala has quickly become a major part of the Foundation’s fundraising efforts. “The public response has been amazing,” said Foundation Manager Patrick Flynn. “When we started this event last year, we wanted it to be a seminal event for our area, and it appears we are well on our way to that goal.”

The evening was held at the Gilbert Event Center at Eastern Oregon University and started with traditional Irish music performed by Blue Plate Special, a La Grande band that specializes in traditional acoustic music of many nationalities. The feature performer, Hart Keene, performed “up close magic” to attendees while they enjoyed social time and hors d'oeuvres. A plated Irish dinner was concocted and served by Chef Merlyn Baker of Merlyn’s Catering, followed by Keene’s main show entertaining and amazing guests with illusions and feats of the mind.

Flynn highlighted the whole evening is meant to inspire and encourage, as well as to show the good works the Foundation does for patient care at Grande Ronde Hospital and Clinics. “All of this is to benefit our patients. The Foundation uses the proceeds to purchase patient care equipment, training for our care professionals, and other needs that arise.” Flynn also focused on the benefit of donations staying local, “Every dollar goes directly to patients, and benefits our communities. This way donations go to help our friends, family members, and neighbors.”

The Foundation’s patient care projects have had impact all over the hospital and the various clinics, which is exciting to be a part of. “Having different types of equipment go to different departments is really neat, we learn a lot about what these departments do, and the types of patients we and our donors can help,” said Flynn. The largest of the equipment projects was replacing aged IV therapy patient chairs in the Hematology/Oncology Clinic. These chairs are very specialized due to patients spending lengthy stretches of time with IV’s delivering lifesaving medicines. “They have motorized recliners, heaters, we have different sizes to accommodate different body types, and they are mobile so that our nurses and technicians can easily move them from room to room if needed,” Wisdom said. The Foundation purchased sixteen chairs, so all of the Infusion Clinic patients can enjoy the new luxurious chairs.

Another patient favorite purchase was to add to the expanding and heavily used fleet of wireless fetal monitoring belts used in the Family Birthing Center. These belts are placed around expecting mothers as they come in when delivery is imminent, and they wirelessly and securely deliver fetal vital signs to a base station, so that the mothers-to-be can walk, stand and be mobile and not tethered to a wall or computer, which aids in the birthing process. Other purchases include a new exam chair for the Ear, Nose, and Throat clinic, two new convection ovens for the dietary department, and an Ureteroscope for the Operating Room.

The Foundation is already planning next year’s gala, set for mid-March 2019. To stay up to date on Foundation events and news, contact the Foundation office at 541-963-1431 or email at and join the newsletter list.