Foundation terms 5th Annual Black Tie Gala a big success


event photos
The Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital Friends Foundation held its 5th annual Black Tie Gala November 4 at the DuBourg Centre. The dinner/auction was attended by over 200 people.
Tom Keim, SGCMH CEO, gave a brief welcome, and joked that a very wise person—his wife—told him to never miss an opportunity to talk about the hospital. That he did.
“We are like no other critical access hospital on the face of the earth,” he said with pride. “This past year we’ve set records for surgeries, births, diagnostic imaging studies, lab procedures and clinic visits. We are attracting people from all over the region that come to Ste. Genevieve for one simple reason, we take the time to practice good medicine. Our doctors have the ability to set the type of schedule and patient involvement that gives patients the type of care they want and deserve. With your help we will continue to grow our hospital and facilities, and continue to be an independent hospital.”
Bruce Giesler, Friends Foundation president, thanked the generous table sponsors; gala sponsors Mississippi Lime Company (event sponsor); Bloomsdale Bank (dessert sponsor); and Rob Walsh, MBA, MS, PhD, CRNA (drink sponsor); and also gave appreciation to three major hospital donors.
“A special thank you to Lhoist of North America and Bloomsdale Bank who have each helped us with our commitment toward 3D mammography and have committed substantial donations over the next 5-10 years for this technology,” said Giesler. We also appreciate Mississippi Lime and their countless hours of fundraising to support our Ride to Survive to benefit our oncology department. These generous businesses continually support the hospital and our community.”
New this year to the gala was mobile bidding, which allowed guests to bid on silent auction items throughout the evening on their personal electronic devices.
“For some this method of bidding was a new experience, but all in all everyone seemed to be having fun with it,” said Shawn Long, Friends director. “People were able to follow the bidding from their seat instead of having to constantly go back to a bid sheet to see if they still had the bid. I think the system is a keeper.”
The Foundation took the opportunity to present several checks. The first, a $30,000 contribution to the Ste. Genevieve Surgical Center presented to Dr. Joseph Sharlow, general surgeon.
“Thank you to all who have supported the Friends Foundation and our hospital,” said Dr. Joseph Sharlow. I have been here 27 years, and these have been the best 27 years of my life. Quite honestly, Ste. Gen is a gem. Your being here shows us you appreciate what we do, and it is a privilege to serve you and provide you the best medical care that we can.”
“I would like to echo what my partner Dr. Sharlow said—Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital is the best kept secret,” said Dr. Theresa Cavins, breast and general surgeon. “When we first opened Metis Breast Center, we were doing about 1,000 mammograms a year. This year we project to do over 4,000 screening mammograms. We know that mammograms save lives and it’s just been a phenomenal growth with the 3D addition.”
Giesler continued the check distribution by explaining that one of the hospital’s biggest growth areas has been in Women’s Health and Childbirth, and that it is a privilege to support bringing the next generation of newborns to this world in the safest and most secure way possible. To that end, the Foundation contributed $25,000 toward the OB central monitoring system.
“I am privileged to be a part of this hospital, this community and the team that takes excellent care of women and babies every day,” said Lisa Bird, Director of the Women’s Health and Childbirth Center. “We set a record last year for the hospital with 180 births, the most since 1980. The central monitoring system is what’s keeping women and their babies safe. A 10-year CMS study has shown that the number of NICU admissions for babies decreased by 50% because the system keeps such a close eye on the mom and baby so problems are discovered earlier. So you really are making a difference.”
One final Friends donation of $8,000 was given to the Alan P. Lyss Center for Cancer Care and Clinical Research, and was accepted by Tom Keim on behalf of the oncology department.
“In 2000, the oncology wing was added and now, 17 years later, we’re in need of some upgrades to make it more convenient and allow for patients to have an even better experience,” said Keim. “Dr. Lyss presented a program where he talked about the cancer research that is being done internationally. He listed all the cancer research sites in the world and Ste. Genevieve was one of them. So this will get us go a long way in helping to make our facility the best it can be.”
The remainder of the evening participants enjoyed mobile bidding and listening to the evening’s entertainment by singer Gina Otto and the Monaco Trio. Tom Okenfuss provided his auctioneer talents for the oral auction.
The volunteer Friends Foundation Board is comprised of nine community members who serve a maximum of two, three-year terms. Current members are: Bruce Giesler, president, Mary Odneal, vice-president, Mike Horrell, secretary/treasurer, Craig Ruble, MD, Jim Francis, Theresa Cavins, MD, Robert Walsh, MBA, MS, PhD, CRNA, Jan Loida, Bob Palmer, Laurie Ebeling.
Dozens of photos from the event are posted at

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