HANCOCK - For more than 20 years, Portage Health has been conducting its Lights of Love fundraising program, and Wednesday this year's effort officially began.
During a ceremony in the lobby of the hospital's Hancock location with about 40 people in attendance, Jim Bogan, Portage Health president and CEO, and Barbara Worral, president of the Portage Hospital Auxiliary, sponsors of Lights of Love, spoke about the program.
Worral said those who donate money for a light on the hospital Christmas tree, either in memory of someone who died, or in honor of someone who is still alive but who is ill or has overcome illness, help support students who are attending school for a career in the health care field.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Barbara Worral, president of the Portage Hospital Auxiliary, speaks to a crowd of about 40 people Wednesday during the Portage Health Lights of Love ceremony.
"This year, we have $3,000 to award," she said. "That will be matched by another $3,000."
Worral said six $1,000 awards will be distributed from the Lights of Love proceeds.
Bogan said the donations help students who may eventually come work for the hospital, especially doctors.
"We really appreciate what the auxiliary has done," he said.
There is a shortage of about 20,000 medical care workers in the United States, and the shortage is expected to grow, Bogan said.
"That number is going to swell up to 150,000," he said. "We really appreciate very much what (the Auxiliary) has done to help the cause."
After the lights on the tree were lit, members of the Auxiliary read the nearly 300 names of those for whom lights were purchased in memory of and in honor of.