Ben Maples of Valero presents a check for $275,000 from Valero Energy to officials of the Moore County Hospital District and Health Foundation Wednesday.

Left to right: Jeff Turner, Larry Appel, Ben Maples, Milton Pax, Kathie Fuston, and Connie Flores, Chief Practices Officer of Moore County Hospital District

"Health care in our community is important," said Moore County Health Foundation (MCHF) Board of Directors President Larry Appel Wednesday.  He had just received a check from Ben Maples of Valero for $275,000.00 to contribute to the foundation's ongoing capital campaign to raise money to furnish and purchase equipment for the new wing of Memorial Hospital that is now in the final stages of construction.  "Communities are made up of good hospitals, good schools, good swimming pools, good golf courses.  It is all about the quality of life for a community.  It is a generous gift Valero has come forward with.  We are most thankful for their contribution," Appel continued.

In explaining the Valero gift, Maples pointed to the survival struggles of hospitals in rural communities and noted that Valero employees and contractors rely on the facilities and staff of the Moore County Hospital District (MCHD) for health care.  "We know that the hospital has provided needed and important services, not only for our employees and contractors, but for the county as a whole," he said.  "Valero is very happy to be a contributor to the capital campaign …"

Valero has contributed to numerous charities and non-profit organizations in Moore County and the surrounding Panhandle over the years, including Snack Pack for Kids and the Panhandle Children's Foundation, among others.

MCHD Chief Executive Officer Jeff Turner said the money would go towards purchasing imaging technology for the new wing.  "We will be installing new MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), new CT (computed tomography), and new ultrasound technology into our new facility.  It will be replacing equipment that is on the edge of being 20 years old at this point in time.  Very important upgrades for our ability to continue to diagnose and treat patients in this community."  He added, "The hospital foundation is engaged in this $1.75 million capital campaign, and Valero's exceedingly generous contribution of $275,000 becomes a very cornerstone gift in our ability to achieve that goal, and we thank them very much."

According to Moore County Health Foundation Executive Director Kathie Fuston, "As of today, we have $1,238,000 in pledges from our community."

"Obviously, we have raised a lot of money, but we still have some more to raise (to reach the $1.75 million goal).  We think we can meet that by the end of the year," said Appel.

For this campaign, Fuston says the foundation, which has raised funds since the late 1990's to support health care in Moore County, is asking donors to make pledges to be paid over a period of one to three years.  The foundation will recognize donations above a certain level within the new wing.  "The Harvest", which until this year was the foundation's largest fundraising event, will be held as a thank you to those donors who contribute to the current campaign.  "We won't be selling tickets and getting sponsors; this will be a big celebration, and all of the donors for the capital campaign will be invited," she said.  For more information, call Kathie Fuston at (806) 934-7804.

Appel said in remarks to the Moore County Hospital District Board of Directors earlier in the year that another benefit of the capital campaign is that area foundations that regularly give large grants to support health care programs are more willing to award grants in communities that demonstrate local support for health care by investing their own money.

Milton Pax, honorary chairman of the committee running the fundraising campaign said Wednesday, "Health is such a big issue.  When people are looking for a community to reside in, many times they look at the health care prospects … we are just so thankful Valero has given this money.  We are going to have a top-notch medical facility in our community now … it is going to make our community a better place to live, and we are grateful."

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