Author Reading: Andrea Lister, Commitment To Caring: Chilliwack Hospital Auxilary’s 100 Years, 1911-2011

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Chilliwack Library

Join writer and historian Andrea Lister as she follows the generations of determined women who fundraised, sewed, canned, and knitted to establish Chilliwack’s first hospital. These women supported the hospital and their community for 100 years, through wars, depression, recession and social change.

Andrea Lister is the 2012 Chilliwack Heritage Award winning author of Commitment to Caring: Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary’s 100 Years, 1911-2011. She is the editor of British Columbia History, the British Columbia Historical Federation’s flagship publication. As the great-granddaughter of the founding member of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary, Andrea was asked to write their history for their 100th anniversary. The book reflects Andrea’s belief that history is the ongoing story of ordinary men and women who shape our world.

Commitment to Caring: Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary’s 100 Years, 1911-2011 is now available as an ebook for the Kobo reader and for Kindle.

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Commitment to Caring now available as an e-book

Mrs. I.F. Boucher, General Convener; Carl Grossman, Hall Manager; Elva Grossman, Secretary; Gladys Carvolth, Assistant Secretary

CHILLIWACK, BC. – The role that dedicated volunteerism of generations of women have played in the delivery of healthcare in the Fraser Valley is an ongoing story that deserves to be known.

Commitment to Caring: Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary’s 100 Years, 1911-2011 is now available as an ebook for the Kobo reader and for Kindle. Writer and historian Andrea Lister follows the generations of women who have supported the hospital and the community for 100 years through wars, depressions, and social changes. All proceeds from the sale of this book go towards the purchase of equipment for the Chilliwack General Hospital.

Retail price: $2.99
ISBN: 978-0-9868333-1-1 (electronic edition)

Available at

Available at

Commitment to Caring was awarded a 2012 Chilliwack Heritage Award by the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society.

Andrea Lister was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. As the great-granddaughter of the founding member of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary, Andrea was asked to write their history for their 100th anniversary. Fortunately, tenacity runs in the family. Commitment to Caring reflects Andrea’s belief that history is the ongoing story of ordinary men and women who shape our world.

Launch of new BCAHA website

The British Columbia Association of Health-Care Auxiliaries (BCAHA) has launched their new website.

They were established in 1945 to promote education, leadership, communication, standards of performance and the opportunity to exchange information and ideas amongst the membership.

Currently there are 87 member auxiliaries in BC representing 6900 adult volunteers and 900 youth volunteers. The strength of these groups is based upon community spirit and philanthropy and for decades we have been there “every step of the way” in providing care and comfort. Their work goes from operating hospital gift shops, delivering flowers and books to patients, providing directions to visitors, being a visitor to someone who is alone and hosting events for seniors in care. In addition to this, auxiliaries raise funds through events and thrift stores to purchase much needed health care equipment at the local level.Last year (2010) our members reported 1,394,000 volunteer hours worked and $8,313,000 donated.

Help support your local BC hospital and find an auxiliary near you. Donate your gently used items to their thrift store or become a member.

Annual Strawberry Tea

June 2, 2012

1:30 to 3:00 pm

Chilliwack United Church, entrance at corner of Main and Spadina.


Come for cake, strawberries, ice cream, tea and coffee. Check out the baked goods for sale, partake in the Chinese raffle, and maybe win a door prize. Admission by donation.

All proceeds go towards purchasing hospital equipment for the care and comfort of patients.

2012 Chilliwack Heritage Awards

The Chilliwack Heritage Awards were presented on March 24, 2012 by the Chilliwack Museum and Historical Society. Each year they present awards to individuals, businesses, governments or groups whose efforts have made important contributions to the culture, history and/or heritage of Chilliwack and its people.

This year, author Andrea Lister, with research assistants Robin and Sheila Lister, were given a Heritage Awards for the book Commitment to Caring: Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary’s 100 Years, 1911-2011, (ISBN: 978-0-9868333-0-4).

“I am honoured that the book Commitment to Caring has been selected to receive a Chilliwack Heritage Award,” said Andrea Lister. “I feel fortunate to have told the story of these women whose dedication and community involvement have supported the Chilliwack Hospital for over 100 years.”

International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, take a moment to reflect that it was, and is, a small group of women who have raised money to build and maintain the Chilliwack hospital for over 100 years.

The story of the Auxiliary is a very human story. It is the story of women, many of them who’s names are no longer known, who came together and baked pies, sold tags, raffle tickets, sewed, knitted, and promoted the work of the hospital through wars, depression, and changing times.

These remarkable women have given 276,332 volunteer hours between 1998 – 2010 and supported the growth of the hospital from 13 beds to 138 beds plus 97 extended care beds; the growth of Chilliwack from a population of 1657 to approximately 80, 000. They have raised approximately the equivalent of 5 million dollars in today’s money contributed to the hospital in the last century.

The Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary invites everyone to continue supporting them in their endeavours to provide a variety of volunteer support services and fundraising initiatives to assist in the continuation and growth of healthcare services for Chilliwack General Hospital; at one time or other some member of your family has needed the services of the hospital.

Happy 100th Birthday Chilliwack General Hospital

The first Chilliwack hospital officially opened February 28, 1912 completely free from debt. The women of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary raised $5000 of the total expenditure of $10,000.In addition to fundraising, the Auxiliary women gathered supplies for the hospital wards. They supplied feathers and made pillows. They put notices in the paper for donations of fruits, jelly, vegetables, furniture and bed linens.

The hospital was located at western portion of the city. The hospital was two storeys with three wards, doctors’ preparatory room, reception, operating room, toilet and bath rooms, kitchen, orderly’s room, matron’s room and a nurses’ sitting room. The hospital had room for between 13 patients but could accommodate 20 patients if required. It had no elevator and patients had to be carried between floors.

Chilliwack Museum and Archives ADD.MSS.781
Chilliwack Hospital in 1912 with First Matron Mrs. Johnson Wemp. Image courtesy of Chilliwack Museum and Archives ADD.MSS.781

Indefatigable in their work are the members of the Hospital Auxiliary. The president, Mrs. Henry Eckert, and the secretary, Miss Grossman, along with the other members, have done noble work in pushing along the work. To them, the thanks of the public is due and they can rightly take credit for the building being ready and open today.

The Chilliwack Progress, March 6, 1912

Chilliwack General Hospital has expanded significantly from its humble beginnings. The women of the Auxiliary wish the hospital a happy birthday as they continue together in their work to support health care in the community.

British Columbia History Online

Many aspects of British Columbia history are not found, or are sketchily covered, in online sources. The British Columbia Historical Federation has begun a project to build an online encylopedia of British Columbia history.

A brief history and timeline of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary has been added to the online encylopedia by author Andrea Lister.