We Care Campaign reaches completion

(Courtesy photo) The three members of the Crook County Medical Services District Foundation present a check for the new flooring to staff members at the hospital. From left to right: Robert Hart, Jan Denzin, Betty White, Kathy Lenz and Marlene Edwards.


By Sarah Pridgeon

After 20 years as caretakers of the community’s donations, the three still-active members of the Crook County Hospital Foundation are ready to hand over the reins. Kathy Lenz, Jan Denzin and Betty White are officially stepping down after seeing the We Care Campaign launched at the turn of the millennium come to fruition.

The campaign donations that were earmarked for the community of Sundance have now been directed to replacing the windows at the hospital facility and the new flooring that was recently installed. With that, the board has completed its mission, says Kathy Lenz, Foundation President.

“The We Care Campaign was put together to help solve the needs of the hospital and the clinic over in Moorcroft. They were growing so exponentially over there and had a need for a new building,” says Lenz.

The funds were categorized for the three communities of Sundance, Moorcroft and Hulett, so each had a pot of money to spend. Donors were able to designate where they wanted their money to go or, as happened in the case of larger contributors, split it between the three.

“We’ve kept track of that all these years,” says Lenz, explaining that the reason the three members were determined to stay on board was to ensure those funds were spent as was intended.

At the beginning of the campaign, the foundation sponsored a study to find out what its top priorities were, says Lenz. The results suggested that the first should be to rebuild or remodel the hospital and the second should be a new clinic for Moorcroft.

“At the time, it was booming over there with lots of business. You couldn’t get in to Gillette hospital so our clinic was really busy,” Lenz says. “The board at the time decided they would build a clinic.”

Building the Moorcroft clinic was the foundation’s first success. It was a huge undertaking that saw board members working eight hours a day to see the project complete.

“When we finished, we remodeled the Hulett Clinic, but Sundance could never quite decide what they wanted to spend their money on. It’s very specific: it has to be capital funding, it can’t go for equipment or other items,” says Lenz.

Lenz has served as the president since the early days of the board, while Betty White joined as soon as her term was finished on the Board of Trustees and Jan Denzin has served as treasurer since day one. The board has had numerous members over the year, Lenz says, and it’s thanks to their help that the campaign was a success.

“We sat on the We Care Campaign last year until they wanted new windows. When they finally made that decision, we contributed to that, and then when they decided to do the flooring, we contributed to that.”

At this point, she continues, the board is down to the final dollars of the We Care Campaign money.

“There’s some left for Hulett and I know they’re looking at a study to do a new clinic. There is a segment left for Sundance and they’ve been whittling away at that and at this point we’re very comfortable with the administration they have up there and…we are ready to step down from the foundation board,” she says, noting that the remaining Sundance money will likely go to heating and air conditioning in the rooms.

“We feel we have met our obligation for the We Care Campaign and that was the reason we stayed on this, because we made a promise to all our donors that we would take care of the funds they gave us.”

The board will continue, Lenz says, but in a different form and no longer as caretakers of the We Care Campaign money. Administrator Nathan Hough has been asked to find replacement members; all three active members have officially stepped down, though Denzin will be available to help with the financial side of the transition.

“It’s time for this chapter to close, for us to move on and some new blood to come in and adopt it,” Lenz smiles. “We just want the public to know that we sat on their donations until we were comfortable that it was going to something specific and tangible.”