Curiosity Shop check to SMHC

Curiosity Shop Inc. treasurer Margie Bortner, second from left, presents a donation of $18,000 to Tammy Stafford, executive director of St. Martin’s Healthcare. With them are Curiosity Shop officers: secretary Loraine Hartranft, far left, and finance chair Al Wleklinski, president Connie Dicke and secretary Andrea Clarke.

GARRETT — A Garrett resale shop didn’t have to look far to find a worthy cause for its nonprofit mission.

Tuesday, officers from the Curiosity Shop Inc. presented St. Martin’s Healthcare Executive Director Tammy Stafford a check for $18,000, earmarked to fund medications, computers for new electronic health records, medical supplies and general operation of the facility for uninsured residents of DeKalb and Noble counties.

At the beginning of this year, the Curiosity Shop Inc. was created following the dissolution of the DeKalb Memorial Hospital Fundraising Guild Inc. and the closure of its gift shop, due to the possible affiliation of DeKalb Health hospital with Parkview Health.

Curiosity Shop treasurer Margie Bortner said the donation amount was determined following review of bills submitted by Stafford.

“Last year, we decided not to have three fundraisers” for St. Martin’s, so as not to overwhelm the community. “That left us about $40,000 to recoup,” Stafford said.

Stafford said the Curiosity Shop came to her 3-4 months later to discuss possible donations in the future, adding, “I felt it was like a God thing.”

“We wanted to help support Garrett — and the county in any way we could, as they have been good to us,” said Bortner.

Since moving to a larger site in Garrett in July 2016, the shop has seen exponential growth, from an average of $50 to $350 in sales per day, Bortner said.

The donation marks the first check from the new organization, Bortner added.

St. Martin’s is on target to serve nearly 4,000 unique patient visits in its medical, dental and optometry clinics in 2019. This year, a very successful mental health counseling program has been added to the list of services offered at St. Martin’s, according to Stafford.

Stafford estimated 20% of its patients are for dental care, and another 18% come from Noble County.

St. Martin’s also offers low-cost sports physicals to athletes in the county and went on site at both DeKalb Central and Garrett schools two days a week in the spring. Plans are to offer the service a bit earlier next year, Stafford said of the record number provided.

The physicals are offered to anyone who wants to come.

“I just can’t say how excited I am, this is a real blessing,” Stafford said about the Curiosity Shop donation.

Plans call for Curiosity Shop officers to attend the annual St. Martin’s Healthcare board meeting in September to hear future needs for the clinic. The officers include president Connie Dicke, vice president Loraine Hartranft, secretary Andrea Clarke and treasurer Margie Bortner.

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