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Everyone invited to celebrate longtime volunteer’s 95th birthday, ENMMC Hospital gift shop renaming

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On Friday, Eastern New Mexico Medical Center (ENMMC) Hospital Auxiliary will celebrate the grand opening of the newly remodeled gift shop, bearing the name “Ruth’s Gifts & Coffee” in honor of Ruth Browning, a 29-year auxiliary volunteer and gift shop chairperson.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. with Hospital CEO Warren Yehl and Mayor Dennis Kintigh speaking, followed by a rendition of “Happy Birthday” in honor of Ruth’s 95th birthday.

For 60 years, starting at St. Mary’s Hospital, members of the ENMMC Auxiliary have given of themselves with the goal of improving health care within our community. For 29 years, Browning, a retired school teacher, has served the Auxiliary, Hospital and the community by running a small gift shop in the hospital.

In 1989, Browning retired after 39 years as a teacher. She was not ready to retire. On Oct. 11, 1989, she began volunteering. She serves at the hospital in the gift shop every single day, overseeing everything within the shop — buying inventory, pricing, driving volunteers and providing her signature “service with a smile.” Ruth has served approximately 25,000 hours.

Helping friends and customers is a big part of Browning’s role in the gift shop. It’s more than a gift shop; it’s also about hospitality. Volunteers run the gift shop and serve to help people, whether they need to find just the right gift, a cup of coffee, a listening ear, or just a warm hug.

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In February of this year, the Auxiliary Executive Committee voted to make capital improvements in the gift shop and rename the gift shop in Browning’s honor. An extensive remodel project has recently been completed.

The public is invited to join our Grand Opening Celebration and Ceremony on Sept. 21 at Ruth’s Gifts & Coffee, which coincides with Browning’s 95th birthday.

Ruth’s Gifts & Coffee is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and offers a wide selection of gifts and sundries as well as serving hand-crafted Starbucks beverages. The shop is run and staffed entirely by volunteers and proceeds from the gift shop go to support volunteer projects and scholarships throughout the community.

Eastern New Mexico Medical Center currently has over 70 volunteers who contribute more than 16,000 hours of service monthly, across multiple areas of patient and visitor care. In addition, the ENMMC Auxiliary donates approximately $40,000 annually to local scholarships for students pursuing medically related careers.

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