A Burning Passion for Helping Others
If you connect the dots starting from one family’s introduction to St. Mary Medical Center, you will find a trail of advocates supporting the hospital, to an outpouring of generosity displayed at the recent SMMC Gala held in May 2015. The family is the Charlton family, including Chuck Sr., his two sons Michael and Chuck Jr, owners of Blue Flame Propane Gas Service and Kenderdine’s Heating Oil Company.
Chuck Sr., Michael and Chuck Jr. began their commitment to SMMC in 2004, and once that decision was made, they were all in as a family unit. They are annual sponsors of the Gala, and the St. Mary Cyclefest, co-chaired by Charlene Schwartz for many years. This year they were not only John Wayne sponsors for Dessert at the Gala but also raised their paddle for the new bottle warmers for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
“My family has very close ties with Howard and Charlene Schwartz of Newtown,” explained Michael. “They are business as well as personal associates, and were the catalyst for getting us involved with the hospital.”Howard pointed out that the family’s roots and businesses are in Bucks County. The senior Charltons were raised in Bristol while brothers Michael and Chuck grew up in Bensalem. Both Howard and Charlene emphasized the distinguished record that SMMC was achieving as a community hospital, providing the latest state-of-the art technology and equipment to be used by physicians recognized as leaders in their respective specialties.
Their arguments that St. Mary needed to be the top hospital in the community made perfect sense to Chuck Sr., who believed everyone, his family, friends, employees and neighbors, would benefit in terms of their health and welfare with a strong medical center.
An additional connection to the St. Mary family was the fact that the three sons of Chuck Jr. played on several sporting teams as did the sons of Greg Wozniak, CEO of the hospital. The families became friends.
At one point in this trail of connecting dots, Michael’s family had a personal experience with SMMC. “My daughter Jessica had a ruptured appendix when she was 11 years old,” said Michael. “She was given excellent care, but I observed that the hospital did not have special facilities for children. That did not happen until 2013 with the expansion of the pediatric emergency care center in the Emergency Department. This memory apparently stayed with me because I thought of her immediately at this year’s Gala when the auctioneer began the live Paddle Auction bidding for the new bottle warmers for the NICU.”
The bottle warmers are a sophisticated system for accommodating breast feeding for fragile infants when their mothers cannot be on site.Michael and his wife Jennifer, Chuck Sr. and fiancee Noel made a collective decision to support the bottle warmers, and their paddle went up. Although absent from the Gala, Chuck Jr. agreed with the decision.
“My family believes that it is a matter of when, not if, one of us, or someone we know will be in need of expert medical attention, and if we can help in any way to make this hospital a bigger, better place to attend for those in need, then we are ready to participate,” said Michael.