Rena Salamacha
Rena Salamacha, CEO, Mee Memorial Healthcare System

Because it’s officially the season of giving, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some precious gifts I’ve witnessed as CEO of Mee Memorial Healthcare System.

A present of presence

As its name implies, our amazing Service League is the driving force behind an incredible team of volunteers that give the gifts of time and compassion in serving others. The League’s mission is to “aid in community healthcare and support all MMHS medical facilities,” and this group of dedicated volunteers take that mission seriously.

The independent non-profit provides vital services for the hospital, from staffing the information desk to stocking and operating the gift shop in the hospital lobby. They help strengthen employee morale by hosting breakfasts, handing out awards, holding scrubs sales and providing funds for needed equipment.

Through the years fundraisers have provided revenue for facility improvements such as a mammography machine, dialysis equipment, fetal monitors, and furnishings for the new hospital chapel. And you’d be amazed how much a warm hello and a smile can mean to patients and visitors. Our volunteers go a step further for our long-term patients, engaging them by playing board games or bingo, reading to them or even attending to their important errands. What a gift!

Our unheralded band of volunteers continues to make a difference each day, revealing heart and hope and bringing smiles to both patients and staff. They are truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Grants fuel our mission

As a nonprofit we rely on grants and donations to sustain our high level of healthcare delivered all over South County.

Just last September we were awarded a multi-year grant in the amount of $225,000 to our hospital. Low-income families, especially those with young children, face significant financial and logistical barriers that impede access to health care services. Such philanthropy is critical to our mission.

In the coming year we will utilize funds to complete much-needed renovations for the emergency and radiology departments to improve services and better serve our community. It’s the largest project the hospital has undertaken in 10 years, and it represents a monumental commitment to the local community while elevating the level of care we provide.

The gift of dedicated teamwork

I arrive at work each day filled with calm and confidence that our amazing MMHS staff comes together to bring better health and wellness to our rural community. Their combined gift of unflagging dedication to a noble cause puts everything in perspective.

I cannot thank our incredible team of doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff for standing strong at the intersection of healthcare and human kindness. Their resolve astounds me, and as CEO I prepare for 2023 with a deep sigh of relief that they will show up to work each day with such a shared purpose.

Embrace the season of giving

In the spirit of the holidays I thought it would be nice to outline some straightforward opportunities to give back to others:

  • Volunteer: Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your comfort zone, and boost your social skills. It’s a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. It strengthens your ties to the community and exposes you to people with common interests, neighborhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities. Studies show that giving to others can help protect the volunteer’s mental and physical health. It can reduce stress, combat depression, keep them mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. My idea? Join our Service League at the hospital. It is actively looking for some “young blood” and new, like-minded members. If you have time to devote to this vibrant, fun-loving group of volunteers and community-focused cause, call 831-386-7396. However, if another nonprofit piques your interest, don’t wait! There are so many quality community volunteer projects that need help.
  • Buy lunch for someone: Many people work during the holiday season, so everyone else is able to celebrate. Hospital staff, police officers, and fire department personnel give up time with their families to serve the public. Why not reward their hard work by treating them to a nice holiday meal? Find a group and order a lavish lunch or dinner for them to let them know their work is appreciated.
  • Donate blood: Blood is essential to help patients survive surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. This lifesaving care starts with one person making a generous donation. The need for blood is constant. But only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood yearly. If you want to donate blood, contact the American Red Cross, or discover local Vitalant blood donation drives at It could be the greatest gift of all.

Thank you for whatever you can do for Mee Memorial and our community! I hope 2023 arrives with lots of laughter and hope and an abundance of blessings.

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CEO, Mee Memorial Healthcare System


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