Southern Ocean Reaps Community Support for 50 Years
October 14, 2022
A half-century after Southern Ocean Medical Center’s opening, it’s fitting that modern-day versions of women’s groups who helped fund the hospital’s launch are still working tirelessly to bring leading-edge health care to community members.
Comprising more than 150 women—and several men—who operate three community thrift shops and the hospital’s Bird Cage gift shop, the four Auxiliaries of Southern Ocean recently pledged $2.5 million to the Southern Ocean Medical Center Foundation to support the purchase of a Da Vinci Surgical System. The robotic equipment has already assisted with more than 430 minimally invasive surgeries at Southern Ocean, offering surgeons a greater range of motion and magnified views of a surgical site.
“Having this technology helps attract the best physicians, because new doctors who are already trained in robotic surgery want to come work at a hospital that offers it,” says Judy Brophy, president of the Auxiliaries’ Coordinating Council. “This robotic surgical equipment puts us on par with other hospitals around us and within the Hackensack Meridian Health network.”
Track Record of Support
Dating back to the 1940s, the Southern Ocean Auxiliaries generate about $500,000 each year through myriad efforts, which include events such as fashion shows and cocktail parties. Other pledges to the Foundation over recent years include $2.5 million to purchase advanced linear accelerator radiation equipment and $3 million toward a massive expansion of Southern Ocean’s Emergency Department.
Open daily, the thrift shops benefit not only the hospital, but community members themselves. “Many people’s financial situations are really strained right now, and people can take advantage of being able to get nearly new clothes and some amazing kitchen and home items for a few dollars,” Judy says. “It’s fabulous.”
The four Auxiliary chapters (the Boosters, Holly, Laurel and SOCH) represent the long-standing commitment of hundreds of people throughout the area—many of them retirees—who pool proceeds to fund new equipment and facility offerings at Southern Ocean. Typically, Judy presents Auxiliary members with information about the hospital’s upcoming project priorities after consulting with Foundation Executive Director James Young and Michele Morrison, Southern Ocean’s president and chief hospital executive.
“It’s great to be a part of what these four Auxiliaries do, and I know that everyone who’s a member feels that way,” Judy says. “They’re so proud of what we do and happy we can make a difference.”
James and Michele couldn’t be more grateful for the group's steadfast devotion. “The Southern Ocean Medical Center Foundation Auxiliaries play a huge role in our success,” James says. “Not only do they raise greatly needed funds to support equipment, technology and programs, but they serve as our ambassadors to the Southern Ocean community.”
Adds Michele: “These dedicated volunteers have been there for us from the start, from helping to raise funds to help make Southern Ocean County Hospital a reality some 50 years ago, right up to the present day, through the funding to help support the purchase of life-changing technology. We so appreciate the partnership of our Auxiliaries, and thank them for ensuring we have what it takes to keep getting better. With their dedication, and the commitment of our donors, we are able to fully support the health care needs of our community."
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