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St. Joseph system raises $6.7 million

St. Joseph system raises $6.7 million

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The St. Joseph Foundation announced Monday that it had received $6.7 million in its capital campaign to help pay for expansion projects at the Bryan-based hospital and its other regional facilities.

The announcement signaled the end to an intensive fund-raising drive that lasted more than three years.

The Catholic hospital system, which has satellite locations in a half-dozen surrounding counties, will use the money to purchase equipment for the Bryan hospital's new wing - a "tower" housing trauma and out-patient care, foundation officials said.

Money also will go to expand cancer and cardiac services at the Bryan hospital and emergency room improvements for St. Joseph's rural branches in Caldwell, Navasota and Madisonville, they said.

"There is no end to getting better," said Milton Dare, foundation executive director, referring to a phrase often used by Sister Gretchen Kunz, the former CEO of the St. Joseph system. "That says it all to me. And there is no end to the relationships we are building in this community."

The "Promise Campaign" kicked off in late 2003 with a goal of raising $5 million for the hospital's new tower. But Dare said foundation officials quickly took note of additional needs - such as the expansion of cardiac and cancer center services - and included those as part of the campaign.

Dozens of supporters eager to learn how much money had been raised gathered Monday for a reception in the new tower. When told that nearly $7 million had been raised or promised in the form of pledges, one woman whispered: "Beautiful!"

Dare said foundation officials worked to build relationships with donors across the Brazos Valley and beyond, with some contributions coming from Michigan and New Jersey.

He said St. Joseph employees were heavily involved in the campaign and donated or pledged a total of $546,000.

The largest contribution - $1.5 million - came from Sue Lee, who offered the donation in memory of her late husband, Dr. J.C. Lee, who served 23 years as St. Joseph's chief pathologist. He died of cancer in June 2002.

Sue Lee was quick to point out that the drive had been a community endeavor.

"This is not a single person's efforts," she said during the presentation. "This is the whole community coming together to support our hospital."

• Holly Huffman's e-mail address is holly.huffman@theeagle.com.

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