Auxiliary Society for Comox Valley Healthcare celebrates 110 years of service!

In July of 1913 four Sisters of Saint Joseph arrived in the Comox Valley at the invitation of the president of Comox Logging and Railway with the purpose of establishing a hospital. They purchased five acres of land overlooking the beautiful Comox Bay. By March 1914 they had beds for 10 patients and several ladies, by invitation only, (the “who’s who” of ladies in the valley) formed the Women’s Auxiliary.

The volunteer hours were spent mending sheets and making bandages and dressings. They canned fruits and vegetable in the basement of the hospital for patients and to sell. In 1916 the president, Mrs. Fletcher, was able to convince the City of Courtenay to extend the power grid across the bay to the hospital. 10 years later she was able to have the water system extended from Courtenay to the hospital. That’s 2 years with no electricity and 12 years with no running water!

The main purpose of meetings, held in ladies’ homes, was to organize fundraising events such as dances, garden fetes, raffles, card games and business men’s suppers. One concert raised $32.50 and a dance raised $36.85. A lot of work for less than $50.00!! 

St Joseph’s Hospital Auxiliary purchased a new ambulance in February 1929, had it painted in March and bought a horn for it in April. Unfortunately it was destroyed by fire in 1932 and was replaced by the fire brigade in 1935.

During WWII the Auxiliary struggled to retain members as volunteers and monies were directed to the war effort. After the war the Auxiliary grew as did their fund-raising efforts and patient care. They purchased an oxygen tent in 1947, a gas & oxygen machine in 1948 and a mobile x-ray machine in 1952.

A Candy Striper program was begun in 1968 for youth volunteers to help with patient care in the hospital. The idea of a Thrift Shop was proposed in 1987 and operated out of a member’s backyard shed. It moved to the basement of St Joseph’s 1938 wing, then “The Cottage” on the hospital property and finally to the current space in the rehab wing of St Joseph’s in 2018.

The hospital Gift Shop was established in 1993 in the lobby of St Joe’s and moved to the new hospital in 2017.

To celebrate our 110 years of service in the Comox Valley it was decided to honour 11 groups, who support some area of healthcare, with $10,000.00 each. 

These lucky recipients are:  Wheels for Wellness, CV Child Development Association, CV Lifeline Society, Therapeutic Riding Society, CV Senior Support Society, Sonshine Lunch Club, CV Food Bank, Comox Bay Care Society Care-A-Van, CV Search and Rescue, Dawn to Dawn and Eureka Support Society.

A representative of each organization attended the presentation of cheques on April 16, 2024.