SLIDESHOW: Hospital gets healthy dose of donations

In late May, Ralph and Bette Zech were part of a group of community members, Enumclaw Regional Hospital leaders and local ministers invited to fill the soon-to-be-complete hospital chapel walls with inspirational sayings and bible passages.

Although the wishes will be covered with paint, their spirit will remain, bringing comfort and peace to those who seek it during difficult times at the hospital.

That’s the hope of the Zechs, who recently donated the funds to finish the chapel.

“We felt that there should be a chapel in the hospital,” the couple said, noting there was one there until around 1972 when it was squeezed out as the hospital grew.

As a doctor, a nurse and longtime members of the hospital’s foundation and board, the Zechs are aware of the need for operating rooms and surgery units, but they also know there’s need for a place, for believing and non-believing people, to find comfort and counseling. The chapel, they said, provides that space. Patient rooms, hallways and public waiting areas are not condusive to private conversations.

With the hopsital partnered with Catholic-affiliated Franciscan Health Systems, a chapel was part of the plan, but decking it out fell to a donor.

“I figure I made my living here; I should give it back to the community,” Ralph Zech said.

The Zechs started calling Enumclaw home in 1967, about the same time the first addition to the hospital was built.

Ralph was making the trip from Seattle to Buckley 10 years earlier as the surgeon for Rainier School. When the clinic formed, he joined as a general surgeon. He retired in 1985, but is still involved. Bette works as a nurse at a facility nearby.

Expanding the hospital was a dream 20 years ago, Ralph said.

The Zechs have donated to the hospital all those years. When the Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation and Franciscan Foundation joined forces to raise $2 million to purchase equipment and amenities to enhance the new hospital, the Zechs knew they wanted to help.

Franciscan Foundation President Jon Flora said the Zechs came to their decision through much thought and prayer. Using several options, including multiple-years of giving and ties to a life insurance plan, working with both Foundations, the donation became a reality. Those options, Flora said, provided them a way to donate beyond what was currently possible.

“Sometimes it’s more than how much can I write out of my check-book today,” Flora said. He said the Foundation can work with insurance plans, estate planning, real estate or stock, as a few examples.

Dwight and Doris Garrett are another example. The Enumclaw couple who substantially funded the hospital’s emergency room addition years ago are posthumously supporting today’s effort with an estate donation.

So far the foundations have received donations or pledges totaling $1.4 million. The largest donation, $600,000, was provided by the Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation. Other big donors include Selland Construction, which is building the hospital, and the Cornerstone Club, Franciscan’s employee giving program, which recently pledged $100,000 toward the cafeteria, which will be called the Cornerstone Café. Flora said the majority of Franciscan employees are not based in Enumclaw, and as “the biggest grant they’ve ever made,” it speaks volumes to welcoming the Enumclaw community.

“The progress is stampeding ahead,” said Jackie Madill, Enumclaw Regional Hospital campaign coordinator. Major construction is expected to be complete in sixth months with doors opening in February 2011.

The campaign hits another gear now through November as community members are invited to participate. Each contribution of $250 or more will purchase a Wilkeson Sandstone Quarry paver. These pavers, inscribed by donors, will become part of the hospital’s healing garden. Other opportunities are also available. For $1,000 or more, donors’ names will appear on a wall inside the hospital. Donors can also still sponsor rooms, benches and other amenities starting at $5,000. For a complete list or more information, contact Madill at 253-740-9558 or

“Donations will add all the finishing touches,” Madill said. “We really want to be a complete healing environment.”

“I’m optimistic,” Flora said of the fundraising effort. “This is an interesting time to be doing this. It’s a good time to look at alternatives like the Zechs have.”

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