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Medical scholarship: Recipients all pursuing medical careers

June 11, 2014
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

With so many future and permanent jobs in the future for those with degrees and studies in the medical field, Liz Eilf, a member of the scholarship committee for the Auxiliary of Lehigh Regional Medical Center, along with fellow committee members, that selected the recipients, held a special ceremony to present five medical scholarships to local students.

Eilf, a past president of the Auxiliary and Laurie Overhoff, the director of the scholarship committee and Maude Kight, a member of the scholarship committee, spent much time selecting students from a long list of applicants. Each of the scholarship winners wants to pursue a degree in the medical field.

This year, Chairman Overhoff said the Auxiliary was able to hand out $2,500 in scholarships to what she called five deserving students who will make Lehigh proud.

Article Photos

Left to right, Liz Eilf, committee member; Mackenzie Phelps; Amy McDowell; Laurie Overhoff, committee chairman; Giselle Diaz, Nancy Gecay, and Maude Kight, committee member.

Those who received $500 scholarships included:

Mackenzie Phelps, whose plans are to become a registered nurse. She attends Florida Atlantic University in Boca Ratan, Fla.

Amy McDowell who wants to study bio medical sciences at University of South Florida in Tampa.

Giselle Diaz, who wants to become a registered nurse and is studying at Edison State College in Fort Myers.

Nancy Gecay, who also wants to become a registered nurse and is attending Premiere International Institute in Fort Myers.

Silence Dengler, who is studying radiology at Edison State College in Fort Myers. She was unable to attend the ceremony last week.

All the money that goes for scholarships comes from the profits of the gift shop inside the lobby at Lehigh Regional Medical Center, which is run by the Auxiliary.

Eilf noted that with close to 9,000 people turning 65 every day in the U.S., the need for people who will be able to work with the older population is of great value, not to even mention younger people who will also need medical care. She said the country needs more doctors, nurses, and assistants in the medical industry.

The Auxiliary is not part of the hospital, but a partner with the hospital. LRMC gives the space for the gift shop. It's on the left when you enter the front entrance of LRMC on Lee Blvd.

"We have all types of things; namely fresh flowers every day, gifts for almost any occasion, trinkets, greeting cards and much more," said Eilf who oversees the gift shop.

Those who go into the hospital's front lobby often see flowers at the reception desk. Those flowers can be purchased when you visit a patient in the hospital, or you can choose something else in the gift shop.

"We really want people to give the gift shop a chance for we have wonderful things there for sale. Our flowers are fresh daily and come from a local florist in Lehigh. We have some of the prettiest vases anywhere. And the gift shop is a great place to stop by and purchase a get-well card, or for that matter, any other type of card that we may carry," Eilf said.

"The more money we make from the gift shop means the more students we can assist, those who want to pursue medical careers. If we double what we made this past year, we can double the amount of students to get scholarships next year," said Chairman Laurie Overhoff.

"The Auxiliary really enjoys this about our organization," she said.

According to Eilf, a past president emeritus, there are around 50 men and women - mostly women - who are volunteers in the Auxiliary and Eilf said they are always looking for more people who want to give some of their time to help out.

"Those who want to donate at least four hours a week in the hospital aiding patients, may ask for a membership application at the front reception desk," Eilf said. The volunteers are easily noticeable because of their pink smocks.

"And we have men volunteers, too. They are vitally needed to work with the male patients," she said.

Eilf continued by saying that a visitor to the gift shop can purchase an item ranging from $3 to $19.95.

"We have some of the best prices and taking something to a patient in the hospital brings them happiness," Eilf said.

The Auxiliary of Lehigh Regional Medical Center was begun back in the 1970s, it is believed, and has continued to be an active group ever since with the idea to help people pursue a medical career.

Volunteers must be over 18 and they can work more than the 4-hour shift if they so desire.

"You get so much by volunteering to help others. It is really a great thing to do and our volunteers are happy doing what they do," Eilf said. Every 12 months a Volunteer of the Year is selected and honored with a festive occasion at the hospital.



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