Toni Straka, who this June will have been volunteering at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for an incredible 50 years, has been re-elected president of its Auxiliary, continuing the term she began in 2010. She was officially installed into the leadership post during the volunteer group’s annual luncheon held recently [March 12] at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.
Event coordinator at the First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara and manager of the local Prime Time Band, Straka has remained a key player on the hospital’s Auxiliary leadership team for many years, also serving as president in 2003-04. She began volunteering at SBCH when she teaching at Garfield Elementary School, and has been active in many of the Auxiliary’s committees through the years. She and her husband, Bill, are long-time Santa Barbara residents, and the parents of Todd and Matt.
Joining Straka on the Auxiliary’s executive committee are Steve Warner, president elect; Wynelle Chase, vice president of membership; Mary Esperti, vice president of programs; Lori Crawford, recording secretary; Toni Kipp, corresponding secretary; Richard Rosenkrans, treasurer; and Peter Shepherd, parliamentarian/advisor.
The Auxiliary, established in 1953, today includes more than 600 women, men and teenagers who, in 2010, provided a total of 83,986 hours of service to the patients and staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. There are more than 45 areas throughout the hospital that involve Auxiliary members, whose wide variety of duties range from assisting visitors at the information desk in the main lobby, distributing daily menus to patient rooms, delivering reading material to patients, lobbies and waiting rooms, to assisting at the many special events and health screenings held at the hospital. Volunteers also serve in the hospital gift shop, surgery information and pre-surgery areas, spiritual care, medical library, emergency department, neonatal intensive care unit, pediatrics, escort service, and provide interpreting services, assist community members with the Lifeline response system, and offer help in many more areas throughout the hospital.