Carson Tahoe Health Auxiliary: A Legacy of Friendship, Volunteerism, and Community Support


Nursing scholarships, teddy bears for children in the ER, physical therapy treadmills, community wheelchairs, parking lot shuttles, a non-profit gift shop, and more: beyond bringing hope, health, and caring (not to mention great year-round shopping opportunities!) to our community, these mainstays of Carson Tahoe Health all have one thing in common. They are powered by a dedicated, big-hearted group of local women, the Carson Tahoe Health Auxiliary.

Since Peg Arnold started the Carson Tahoe Health Auxiliary in the early 1950s, the organization has given over $2 million dollars to support Carson Tahoe Health in its mission to enhance the health and wellbeing of our communities. In addition to raising funds, the Auxiliary in the early days sewed hospital gowns and drove blood back and forth to Reno when needed. Now, they host an array of fundraising events and the volunteer-run Carson Tahoe Gift Shop, which donates all profits back to support critical programs and equipment purchases. Founded on the idea of service to the community and sustained by a healthy dose of fun, the Auxiliary has made substantial, far-reaching impacts on our community’s health programs and services.

Though all are aligned in their mission to support CTH, the members of the Auxiliary each join for a particular reason and with a personal story. Their stories are integral to the collective history of Carson Tahoe and their memories are a testament to the spirit of giving that has sustained our community over the years.

Newer members tell stories of relocation to the area, and of finding friendship and shared sense of purpose through the organization. “We are always happy to welcome new members to the Auxiliary and we encourage our members to invite new folks. When we all work together, we can accomplish so much,” says Sam Allec, President of the Auxiliary and Carson Tahoe Health Volunteer.

Many members join the Auxiliary to continue their family’s legacy of service. Allec, for example, made a promise to her late mother Florence Crawford that she would volunteer when retired. “My mom volunteered for 36 years, first in California and then for 18 years at the old hospital when we moved here,” says Allec. “I remember attending Auxiliary luncheons with my mom. She was a hard-working lady who raised my brother and me. She taught me the importance of giving back.” Allec has served on the Auxiliary board for seven years. “I am proud to do this work, and I love to do it,” she says.

Jan Hewitt joined as a representative of Carson Tahoe and has been a member for 20 years. “It is the right thing to do, and I work with great people. The Auxiliary does a lot of fundraising for important items…for things that for one reason or another didn’t make it into the budget, but are still so needed by our patients.” For the Auxiliary, great events go hand-in-hand with fundraising. Hewitt speaks highly of the Auxiliary’s murder mystery dinners: “The dinners are just a blast. You get to dress up, have fun, and support a great cause.”

These innovative women have hosted every type of event under the sun to raise money and support for Carson Tahoe from holiday home tours, cowboy jubilees, fashion shows and Howling at the Moon western dances, to the more recent Collective Goods Sales and two signature events: a spring-time Wine, Cheese, & Dessert Train to Virginia City and the upcoming Murder at the Sock Hop interactive dinner at the Governor’s Mansion.

Angelina Craig, Development Officer at the Carson Tahoe Health Foundation, sees first-hand the impacts of the Auxiliary: “So much love, caring, and dedication is woven into the support the Auxiliary provides to Carson Tahoe. Not only do they raise money, but they also give so freely of their precious time. They are a gift, and we are fortunate to have them in our corner.”

If you’re interested in joining or learning more about the Auxiliary, call Sam Allec at 775-883-4607.

(In photo from left to right: Volunteer Pat Dory, Auxiliary President Sam Allec, and Auxiliary member Mary Walker at the non-profit Carson Tahoe Health gift shop.)