Foundation for Firelands

Donor Stories

As a not-for-profit hospital, Firelands Regional Medical Center acts as a safety net for our community. Your donations help hundreds of people receive the healthcare services they need when they need them.

We Give Because…

Lee and Sandra Jewett: The Gift of a Lifetime

In late 2016, Lee and Sandra Jewett provided a gift to The Foundation for Firelands that like many of their actions throughout the years is truly more than a gift, but rather, is a true investment in the future of Firelands Regional Health System and of the community.

Read Lee and Sandra's full story.

Betty Fenn, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center at Firelands Regional Medical Center patient

In 2014, Betty was diagnosed with bladder cancer. While she endured radiation therapy to rid her body of the cancer, she often admired a quilt hanging on the wall. She was an avid quilter and was inspired by the beautiful item she saw every day.

According to her daughter, Nancy Buderer, Betty had a very intricate quilt in mind, when she decided to create her own symbol of hope.

Read the full story here.

Joe Buti, Materials Management

Joe Buti may have joined the Firelands team only two years ago, but he already feels a sense of belonging at Firelands. He and his wife, Kim, who also works for Firelands, have made giving back to the organization a priority in their lives for many reasons.

“There is always something good going on at Firelands,” Joe says, “When you work in a hospital, you want to see people get better. I think giving back is a way to do that, even if it’s small. It doesn’t take a lot and there is always something that can be done.”

Joe and his family are proud to help local people, citing that by helping in our local community they get to “see the results right here.” Joe has worked in other medical centers and has always participated in employee giving because he feels a sense of duty to help people during their time of need.

“I’m so blessed to be where I am today,” he says, “Others aren’t as fortunate and need help, so that is why we give. I also think that by giving collectively, we can help to ensure that people have the resources they need right here.”

Valerie Ritzenthaler, RN, Surgery

Valerie Ritzenthaler has spent several decades in the Operating Room, so she knows what teamwork is all about. She also knows that teamwork is the key to helping people receive the best healthcare, no matter what their circumstances, and that is why she loves Firelands.

“Everyone has everyone’s back here,” she says. “We look out for each other as we would a family member.” Valerie has found over the years that her job is made better by the generosity of others and so she has extended that same generosity as a donor to The Foundation for Firelands. Valerie has made gifts to enhance the surgical department, but also routinely gives to other campaigns to meet needs as they arise within our region, whether it is through cancer care, women’s health or ensuring newborns get a great start in life.

“I feel it is really important for the community to give back. I see others in need and I can help. It does my heart good,” she explains. “My family feels very strongly about community and commitment. Our support of Firelands centers on this belief in helping others during their time of need.”

Jason Blanton, Radiation Therapist, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center at Firelands Regional Medical Center

As a radiation therapist, Jason Blanton has seen people at their worst, during essential but challenging rounds of cancer treatments. He also sees people at a time when they are most in need of help, when cancer is not only physically challenging, but also financially devastating. That is why he gives…

“I like helping people, especially when I can give them something positive to focus on in the midst of an uncertain time,” he says. “Often, we can take things in life for granted. Things like clothing and even food become a big burden to some cancer patients,” Jason explains. “It makes me feel good to help people get the things they need. It may be something small, but it means a lot to patients when they are going through a difficult time.”

In his fifteen years, Jason has personally helped patients with clothing items, but also gives to other important campaigns to enhance the health of our community.

“This year, the Annual Appeal helped to bring baby boxes to families in need,” he says. “What a great idea to combat infant mortality. I am proud to be a part of it.”

Best Cellars Book Club Necklace

In 2013, a local book club decided to create a charm necklace after being inspired by the book, “The Necklace” by Cheryl Jarvis. In the book, thirteen women share a single necklace and forge a bond that is truly life-changing. View this video to hear how the women of the Best Cellars Book Club were inspired to create their own necklace and to donate it to The Foundation for Firelands Mammogram and Breast Cancer Fund.

Shelly Chesbro, owner, Mark Advertising, Sandusky

donor stories

From the moment Shelly Chesbro first donned her red and white candy-striper uniform in her early teens as a volunteer at Good Samaritan Hospital, she learned first-hand the meaning of giving back.

Read Shelly's full donor story here.

Tim Mayles, accountant, Barnes Wendling Accountants, Sandusky

"I give because we are fortunate to have Firelands Regional Medical Center in our community."

Read Tim's full donor story here.

Ted Kastor, VP, Business Development, Janotta & Herner, Inc.

donor stories"The employee-owners at Janotta & Herner see our support of The Foundation for Firelands as a way to give back to the community we live and work in. We also see Firelands as our safety net. It's comforting to know that if one if our employees is injured, Firelands has the resources to get him or her feeling better and back to work.

"Our employees support Firelands by sponsoring golf teams for the "Caddyshack" Open and participating in various other events that raise funds to enhance patient care and services. It's a partnership that we are very proud to have."

Beth Mathews, Mathews Ford, Sandusky

"We support The Foundation for Firelands cancer program fund and mammogram and breast cancer fund because we have seen the impact it has on patients and families who are dealing with the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis."

Read Beth's full donor story here.

Jim Wible, president, American Colors Inc., Sandusky

donor stories

"American Colors has been a long-standing supporter of The Foundation for Firelands. We are proud to have a nationally ranked medical center and physicians right here in Sandusky. For our 50 employees, having Firelands Regional Medical Center just minutes away means better health; more productive workdays; and happier, healthier families.

"American Colors has supported the Initiative for Firelands, a capital campaign which helped to fund renovations and construction at the hospital, and the Firelands cancer program fund."

Heather Gilchrist, VacationLand Federal Credit Union, Sandusky

In 2011, a group of employees at VacationLand Federal Credit Union saw a need in our community and did something to fulfill that need. Some of their fellow employees and families had been hit with cancer diagnoses. They knew they had to help, but what they didn’t know was that their actions would still be helping people three years later.

At their urging, VacationLand established the Pink Card, a credit card whose purchases give back a percentage to The Foundation for Firelands Mammogram and Breast Cancer Fund. At the end of 2013, this program gave nearly $3,000 to The Foundation for Firelands.

During the past three years, VacationLand Federal Credit Union has donated to support programs that enhance the health and well-being of everyone in our community. VacationLand Federal Credit Union has sponsored events like The “Caddyshack” Open, That 70’s Party, Hearts in Flight and the Mayan Toga Party. Proceeds of these events helped patients across service lines and diagnoses.

“We do our best to give back to the community as much as we can,” says VacationLand Federal Credit Union Chief Executive Officer Bryan Myers. “As a member-owned organization, it’s important that we give back, because we serve the same people Firelands serves.”

That’s why you’ll see VacationLand Federal Credit Union’s Marketing Director Heather Gilchrist at The Foundation for Firelands’ fundraising events and at other community events.

“VacationLand Federal Credit Union was founded by our members to help people,” Heather says. “So we try to help people in need by supporting organizations that work within the community, like Firelands Regional Medical Center.”

Bill Springer, Industrial Nut Corporation

For the Springer family, Firelands Regional Medical Center is more than just their medical center; it is a cause that has been central to their philanthropy for generations. In the early 1900’s, Bill Springer’s grandmother, Ida Senn, served on the Good Samaritan Hospital Board of Trustees. Mrs. Senn was a pioneer as a female trustee in her day, acting on behalf of Grace Episcopal Church who had a financial interest in this early medical facility. Bill’s father, Jack, subsequently served on the same board.

Since then, the Springer family has gone through two more generations of medical center leadership. Bill’s father, Jack, served on the board of Good Samaritan Hospital in the 1950’s. Upon graduation from college and after working for a few years in another state, Bill moved back to Sandusky and joined the board at the request of then board chair Paul Phieffer. Bill Springer who rotates terms as Chair and ViceChair of the Firelands Regional Medical Center board, and his company, Industrial Nut Corporation, have remained steadfast in their commitment to Firelands Regional Medical Center.

For Bill and Industrial Nut Corporation, this commitment isn’t just altruistic; it also benefits the employees and the company.

“Having a successful, robust medical center is critical to our community,” Bill says. “It improves the quality of life for everyone and gives employers like Industrial Nut Corporation access to great healthcare through a great Emergency Department, trauma care, corporate health, general surgery and more.”

Industrial Nut Corporation, a fastener manufacturing company in Sandusky, has long supported capital improvement projects and annual campaigns at Firelands Regional Medical Center. Besides this financial support and Bill’s involvement as board leadership, Industrial Nut has utilized Firelands Corporate Health services to initiate a wellness plan within their company.

“We took the five pillars of health concept that Firelands uses to test employees for wellness and implemented it at our plant,” Bill says. “We offer wellness incentives for employees whose medical testing falls within healthy levels. This has made our workforce strive for better health. We believe this is important not only for our employees, but for the overall health of our community. We are fortunate as a community of our size to have such a wonderful and comprehensive medical facility in Firelands Regional Medical Center."

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