FARMINGTON — As water trickled over stones, a healing garden at Franklin Memorial Hospital was blessed and dedicated Wednesday.

Nestled between the hospital and Medical Arts Center, landscaped grounds with bright late-summer flowers, a flowing stream, pond and walking bridge were completed this summer with a donation from the hospital’s auxiliary, FMH President Rebecca Ryder said.

Using money from fundraisers and the sale of commemorative stones that line the garden walkways, the auxiliary presented a $23,000 check to Ryder in May for the work. This and funds given last year provided nearly a $50,000 donation over the two years for the garden, auxiliary President Shannon Smith said.

“It shows how far we have come in the health field,” Ryder told Auxiliary members and hospital employees who had gathered for the brief ceremony.

Ryder relayed a story from her own experiences as a young nurse when she was taken to task for helping a patient wash and curl her hair and again for taking a patient in to the hospital garden. Nurses did not have time to do such unimportant tasks for patients.

Now this garden represents a move toward the importance of human touch and providing a healing environment for patients and their families, she said. Online research revealed to her that FMH is one of 400 health care facilities that include similar gardens or therapeutic landscapes, she said.

When Clem Begin of Carrabassett Valley heard of the desire to add a 16-foot walking bridge to the stream but the funds were not available, he offered to build and transport it to the site where hospital grounds workers helped install it, she said.

Hospital chaplain, the Rev. Marriott Churchill stood on the bridge to bless the healing garden, which she said represented a circle of health, renewal and life.

The auxiliary with 126 members has sold more than 100 commemorative stones that line a portion of the walkway in the garden. Stones may be purchased in honor of or in memory of loved ones, Smith said. They have begun selling additional stones to finish lining the new pathways created this summer.

These can be purchased through the hospital gift shop, which the auxiliary maintains.

Auxiliary members worked along with Don Garrison and other employees to plan the large, serene garden with benches and walkways for patients and employees to enjoy, she said.

They also hold regular fundraisers throughout the year to benefit a variety of hospital programs and projects. Their newest fundraisers include a dance on Oct. 16, a bake sale planned for Oct. 23 and a raffle held during the week of Farmington Fair. A new venture sponsored by the group is a book fair on Nov. 24 and 25, Smith said.

Two plaques have been installed in the garden, one highlighting the donation given by the auxiliary which made the garden possible and another for Begin’s donation of the bridge, Ryder said.

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Franklin Memorial Hospital chaplain, the Rev. Marriott Churchill, provided a blessing Wednesday during a brief ceremony to dedicate the healing garden between the hospital and Medical Arts Center in Farmington. FMH President Rebecca Ryder, bridge donor Clem Begin and FMH Auxiliary President Shannon Smith stand behind Churchill on the bridge.

Franklin Memorial Hospital chaplain, the Rev. Marriott Churchill,
provided a blessing Wednesday during a brief ceremony to dedicate the
healing garden between the hospital and Medical Arts Center in
Farmington. FMH President Rebecca Ryder, bridge donor Clem Begin and FMH
Auxiliary President Shannon Smith stand behind Churchill on the bridge.

Franklin Memorial Hospital chaplain, the Rev. Marriott Churchill,
provided a blessing Wednesday during a brief ceremony to dedicate the
healing garden between the hospital and Medical Arts Center in
Farmington. FMH President Rebecca Ryder, bridge donor Clem Begin and FMH
Auxiliary President Shannon Smith stand behind Churchill on the bridge as those attending gathered around.


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