Hospital lends helping hand to HRV athletics

When Larry Bowe and his colleagues at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital heard about the dire state of funding for the Hood River Valley High School athletic department this year, they wanted to make a difference.

So when HRV sports training manager Ed Medina and Athletic Director Mitch Sanders approached Bowe and the hospital directors about a new sports training program to help offset the budget crunch, they bought into the program 100 percent.

“We were aware of the money problems and wanted to get involved,” said Bowe, Providence’s chief executive in the Gorge service area. “The plan fit perfectly with the hospital and the community, and gave us a great chance to connect with kids.”

Bowe and the hospital board signed off on a $30,000, two-year proposal in late August that will provide $15,000 of all-purpose money to the HRV athletic department this year and next.

The hospital trustees not only donated funds for equipment, ambulance service at football games and more, but also provided Medina and the athletic department with two gurneys, a training chair and a new ice machine.

“Mitch said it would be tough to get everything we asked for, but we figured we might as well go for all of it,” said Medina, a former volunteer who is now in the middle of his second full year as an HRV staff member. “The ice machine was just an added perk.”

Medina was also thankful to Bowe and the board because the grant helps pay his salary.

“For the longest time, this position was strictly volunteer,” he said. “And since it involves the student athletes and their physical well-being, it was essential to keep it going,” Medina said.

In return for their act of philanthropy, Bowe arranged a little something in return. For as long as the program is in place, all hospital staff members and their families will be allowed to attend HRV athletic events free of charge (non-playoff games for football, basketball and wrestling).

“Another thing this program does is allow our staff and their families to be directly involved with high-school athletics,” Bowe said. “It gives them a special connection to the program that may not otherwise be there.”

So many benefits help make such a large financial sacrifice worth everyone’s while. But not only do the hospital employees and the student athletes get to benefit from this grant.

Yet one more positive to this new partnership is that the equipment will also be used to help students involved in sports medicine classes, taught by HRV girls tennis coach Barb Hosford.

“We’re going to try to involve more students in the teams’ needs,” said Medina, who already has a few students involved with taping ankles and other assorted training room tasks.

“The funding also makes it so I can be more directly involved in educating kids, by visiting some classrooms, walking them through some procedures and that kind of thing,” he said.

Bowe said the partnership has been officially extended through the spring 2004 athletic season, and may continue in some capacity beyond that time.

For more information about the new sports training program at HRVHS, call Medina at 386-4500.

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