By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
For the third year in a row, funds from the Vidant Edgecombe Hospital gala will benefit the hospital’s emergency department expansion. This year’s sold-out gala, “Twilight in Tuscany,” is set for Saturday evening in the T.S. Fleming Building on Edgecombe Community College’s Tarboro campus.
“We are at our maximum capacity and we are very excited. Two hundred and sixty tickets have been sold,” said Erin Grimsley, director of marketing, business development and gifts for Vidant Edgecombe Hospital. The hospital has raised $30,000 each year from the past two years’ galas for the emergency department expansion, with a three-year fundraising goal of $100,000.
“We’re hoping to go out with a bang so we can really support the project with these funds,” Grimsley said.
Bob Nicolosi, chair of the hospital’s development council, said attendees at the gala, which is in its ninth year, “seem to have a good time,” enjoying dinner, music, dancing and bidding on items in the silent auction. Myrtle Grove Plantation is catering the Italian-themed heavy hors d’oeuvres, and the Carolina Breakers, a beach band, is providing the dancing music. Among the many community supporters of the gala are the hospital volunteers and local business owners.
“The hospital volunteers are a pretty fabulous group of people and they always donate about $10,000 to this gala every year,” Nicolosi said. “The hospital couldn’t run without them.”
“We’ve had really great support from our local business owners and we just appreciate their support so much,” Grimsley said, noting the hospital would not be able to plan such a “grand” event without the support from the community’s business sector.
The hospital broke ground on the $4.8 million emergency department expansion on Aug. 24, 2012.
“The construction and expansions are on track. We’re hoping to host an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony in late May,” Grimsley said. The expansion includes the construction of a new helipad for the landing and take-off of helicopters transporting patients to and from the emergency department.
“The new helipad is already functional and we’re already using that. We’re just really pleased with the whole project,” Grimsley stated.
Once complete, Nicolosi said the new emergency department will provide “a more pleasant experience” overall for hospital patients and staff, complete with better office facilities, more privacy and additional beds for overnight patients.
“We’re adding 10 more beds in the emergency department, so that doubles what we have (nine),” Nicolosi said. “That is more than enough to handle the daily flow of people.”
The emergency department serves more than 28,000 people every year, according to Nicolosi.