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Wood's Ambulance & O'Loughlins Honored at Heywood Healthcare Winter Affair Celebration

March 5, 2019

Heywood Healthcare celebrated community, health and collaboration at ‘A Winter Affair’ with 300 in attendance, enjoying the Dueling Pianos, on Friday, March 1st, at The Colonial Hotel in Gardner.

Guests were greeted at the annual event by third and fourth grade students from Elm Street School in Gardner, who attended to help promote the Weekend Backpack Food Program. Attendees and honored guests had a chance to look back at the accomplishments of Heywood Healthcare, honor local individuals and organizations promoting health and wellness in the region and raise funds to support the Weekend Backpack Food Program.

At the event, Heywood Healthcare honored Wood’s Ambulance, Inc. with its Collaborator’s Award.

Wood’s Ambulance, Inc. has been serving the people of Central Massachusetts from its headquarters in Gardner for over six decades. Owned and operated by three generations of the Wood family, the company provides state-of-the-art caring and professional Urgent and Emergent Support Care, Stabilization, Treatment and Medical Transportation.

Wood’s Ambulance, Inc. has been an avid supporter of Heywood Healthcare’s initiatives for over 20 years, supporting various events and fundraisers as well as volunteering time and expertise on our committees and boards, including the Montachusett Suicide Prevention Task Force and the Annual “Ride of Your Life’ and Healthy Harvest 5K fundraisers.

Jennifer Wood is a member of the Fulfilling Our Promise Quabbin Retreat Capital Campaign Community Cabinet, helping to secure funding to build out needed behavioral health and addiction treatment services at the facility.

Wood’s Ambulance, Inc. also stepped up to assist Heywood Healthcare with strong advocacy when the sustainability of community hospitals state-wide were threatened.

Additionally, Wood’s Ambulance, Inc. has been ensuring those who need behavioral health services are able to get to appointments and treatment by being Heywood’s choice and lowest cost provider of non-emergency transportation for patients, providing nearly 2,100 transports for behavioral health patients in 2018, bringing the total trips to 7,000 since starting the program in 2014, all at a discount to Heywood Healthcare, keeping the service sustainable. Once again, their generosity has helped to bridge access to care otherwise unachievable.

Heywood Healthcare also honored Jim and Lenny O’Loughlin with the Heywood Healthcare Community Health Hero Award, which recognizes an individual or individuals who significantly impact the health and well-being of the North Central and North Quabbin Communities.

Over many decades, Jim and Lenny have given of their time and energy in support of Athol Hospital.

Lenny supported the Athol Hospital Auxiliary and led Weight Watchers meetings onsite, where she also donated every penny of the program fees back to the Athol Auxiliary. She has also been honored by the Athol Auxiliary Group, received the 2017 North Quabbin Community Coalition’s ‘Spotlight Award’ and has been recognized for work to support law enforcement, passing out over 1,000 ‘Police Tickets’ to recognize the contributions of officers throughout the state.

Jim is a deeply driven and passionate member of his community, shown through his involvement with the Athol YMCA and his tenure as president of the Monadnock Council of Boy Scouting, who honored him with the prestigious Silver Beaver Award.

Jim became a member of the Athol Hospital Board of Directors in the early 1970s, and throughout the years made sure that the need for a new Emergency Department was always discussed. In 1999, Jim spearheaded a campaign to save Athol Hospital, with Lenny right by his side. They saw mothers and children bringing piggy banks and jars of change to donate to the campaign’s headquarters. In less than one month, the community rallied and raised $825,000 to save their hospital.

In 2008, Jim stepped up again to chair the “Our Hospital, Our Future” campaign to renovate the Athol Emergency Department, but in 2010, after a proposed affiliation with a larger healthcare system fell through, all monies raised were returned to the donors.

But Jim and Lenny do not tire easily. They remain steadfast in their efforts and an integral part of the campaign to reach $3 million raised to support the Fulfilling Our Promise project for the new Athol Hospital Emergency Department and Medical Office Building.

A warm audience celebrated the strength and commitment of our honorees, and raised just over $100,000 to support the continuation of the Weekend BackPack Food Program, and enjoyed each other’s company along with spirited entertainment by The Flying Ivories Dueling Piano group.

“The generosity and commitment of our community to support those less fortunate is overwhelming. I am particularly astounded by the proceeds generated by a mystery box raffle of various items donated by local businesses, including Gardner Travel Agency, who assisted with obtaining our grand prize, a trip for two to Nashville, raised $34,000 in a matter of minutes,” stated Dawn Casavant, Vice President of Development and Chief Philanthropy Officer. “Coupled with the generous donation of $4,500 by the Athol Orange Rotary Club presented at the event, we raised nearly $40,000, all to be used to purchase food for our backpack program.”

Pictured L to R: Jim and Lenny O'Loughlin, Jennifer and Jim Wood and Win Brown.