Patients and staffers in the Radiology Department of McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson have a lot to be happy about these days.
They now have a state-of-the art stretcher bed -- one that had been desperately needed for many years.
"We're so happy to have this new stretcher," said Sharon Rutkowski, the director of the radiology department. "We've needed this for a long, long time. It's great to have this brand new stretcher for our patients."
The stretcher, manufactured by Stryker, was made possible with money donated by those in the community who give annually to The Tree of Love. It cost $5,602.
"Donations from the public is what made this possible," said Ray Wight, the president-elect of the McDuffie Regional Medical Center's Auxiliary, a volunteer group that does a variety of projects to help the hospital throughout the year.
Edna Kennedy, the treasurer, said she is most pleased with how the money raised is spent.
"This stretcher was badly needed in that department," Mrs. Kennedy said. "We're delighted that we were able to raise the money so that it could be bought. We couldn't have done it without the generosity of the public."
The Tree of Love project raised $3,200. The remaining portion for the cost of the stretcher was provided by members of the hospital's auxiliary.
"That's what we're all about -- to do anything we can to help our local hospital," Mrs. Kennedy said. "Giving back helps our entire community."
The auxiliary, which has about 45 active members, was established in 1983.
"We've been going strong ever since," Mr. Wight said.