Friday, November 27, 2020
Rally for the Valley Gives Emergency Service a Shot in the Arm
Bonnie Hutchinson and Susan Black traded their golf outfits in for nurses uniforms during Tuesday’s Rally for the Valley.
Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Next time you need to go to the emergency room for a bellyache you can thank a few birdies and bogeys.

Eighty-eight women turned out in support of St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation’s fourth annual Rally for the Valley Tuesday.

This time they played 18 holes under summer blue skies at Elkhorn at Sun Valley Resort to give St. Luke’s Wood River Emergency Services endowment a shot in the arm.

Georgie Fenton and Lee Shoop were part of a foursome that turned their carts into Air St. Luke's medical helicopter transports on wheels.

“We raised $37,000 last year for a new MRI for St. Luke’s Wood River’s Women’s Imaging Center,”  Foundation Spokesperson Marsha Edwards told the women. “You’re doing so much to help the hospital, the community.”

The annual event was inspired by the Susan G. Komen Rally for the Cure held at Elkhorn several years ago. It was a hit with players, but only 7 percent of the funds raised in that event came back to the community.

And, so, women representing Elkhorn, Bigwood, Sun Valley and Valley Club women’s golf committees decided to stage their own event in support of St. Luke’s Wood River.

It has raised more than $90,000 to augment services at the hospital, beginning with the infusion center in 2016, said Edwards.

Linda Cooper calls on her putting skills as Carole Sampson and Nina Rothstein look on.

The event is one that captures the imagination. Raffle items included a year’s membership for Air St. Luke’s medical helicopter transport and a mammogram—items fitting the cause, in addition to such items as a closet cleaning and a month’s membership at the YMCA.

Many of the teams donned matching outfits and decorated their golf carts to fit the occasion, as well.

Bonnie Hutchinson, Susan Black, Beckie Biedebach and Debbie  Exley, for instance, affixed balloon helicopters resembling Air St. Luke's helicopters to their carts, then donned nurses uniforms and stethoscopes.

Marilyn Hoffman, Katie Hobson, Georgie Fenton and Lee Shoop went so far as to detail their carts with blue and black tape and affixing propellers and tails sporting pinwheels, effectively turning their carts into ground versions of the emergency choppers.

Pat Meadowcroft, Brownell Cochran, Trudy Demorest and Nancy Dreyer had passing bicyclists wondering whether golfers were celebrating a mega birthday.

They added call numbers from actual choppers and donned headsets for good measure.

“This is a big fundraiser now with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the hospital,” said Hoffman, the event organizer.

“It’s a good cause because we’re all probably going to need that emergency room someday,” said Debbie Exley.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the golf tourney was a fun way to spend a sunny summer day.

Joanne Wetherell tackles the sixth hole as her teammates--Leah Giacobazzi,Debra Vadalma and Renie Alverson watch.

“It’s fun to golf with girlfriends—and for a good cause,” said Gina Wolcott.

Megan Tanous, who runs the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation, noted that no other community Sun Valley’s size is staffed by a board of certified emergency physicians as St. Luke’s has.

Problem is, she said, the hospital must maintain a consistent level of service even during slack periods so it loses money. The endowment will help make up for the shortfall.

An anonymous donor agreed to match everything raised during the event. And, so, golf pros from the various clubs offered an hour’s instruction, with pros like Tyler Jones and Tate Mills going for $500 and  Jeff Peterson and Tyler Hanson going for $400.

Just for good measure, Leah Merklinghaus volunteered her husband Drew Merklinghaus for a private ski lesson on Bald Mountain next winter.

“His nickname is Lightning,” she said, as the bids mounted to $600 for the former freestyle champion who runs Sun Valley’s Mountain Masters program.

When it was all said and done, Danielle Doerflein, a junior business major at Boise State University, had led her team to victory with an eagle on the No. 5 hole. And her Pat McGinnis had contributed one of her best games ever after two bad days in a row.

Debbie Exley was closest to the pin on Hole 6; Gail Samuelson, on Hole 3, and Jan Wygle, on Hole 11.


First—Pat McGinnis, Danielle Doerflein, Lori Ransohoff, Jean Tagliapietra with a score of 112.

Second—Kari Regan, Linda Taylor, Linda Peterson, Tana Aardal, 117.

Third—Bonnie Hutchinson, Susan Black, Beckie Biedebach, Debbie Exley, 117.


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