NORTH CONWAY, NH – With spring in the air and summer just around the corner, kids and adults alike will be returning to the rivers, ponds, lakes and streams of Mount Washington Valley. This made it the perfect time for RENEWS (Roy Esteys Network for Education on Water Safety) to move their funds to the Memorial Hospital Foundation to ensure that their mission to promote water safety education and provide resources for personal flotation devices and swimming lessons can continue into the future.
Roy was a beloved member of the Memorial Hospital community, working in Facilities Management. Roy was an outdoor enthusiast his whole life, but he loved fishing most of all. For medical reasons he was unable to participate in swim lessons as a child, and didn’t know how to swim. On May 7, 2010, he took his canoe to go fishing on Pea Porridge Pond in Madison where he drowned.
After his death, his friends and co-workers from Memorial Hospital formed RENEWS to educate and prevent further needless deaths from water related accidents.
“His positive attitude and kindness made him popular not only with hospital staff, but among everyone who knew him. Roy’s easy-going and cheerful attitude kept close friends in the maintenance department laughing. He was always willing to jump in a situation and help out whenever needed,” shared Mary Vigeant, APRN, a nurse practitioner at Memorial’s Emergency Department.
Memorial Hospital President & CEO Scott McKinnon stated, “RENEWS’ mission and that of Memorial Hospital are a natural fit. We are pleased to be able to continue to support the best interest of our community’s health with these important water safety programs.”
Drowning deaths are a concern that impact so many, especially in an area that enjoys its water activities as much as Mount Washington Valley. The Centers for Disease Control reports that ten people die from drowning every day. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. In 2014, it was the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages. About half of all drowning incidents occur in natural water settings such as lakes, rivers, or oceans. Research has shown that participation in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged 1-4 years. Additionally in 88% of boating death caused by drowning, the victim was not wearing a life jacket. RENEWS hopes to improve bthese statistics locally through their support.
After starting out as a fundraiser at Memorial Hospital, RENEWS received its own non-profit designation several years ago. Then in early 2018, RENEWS once again returned to Memorial Hospital as a restricted fund. The monies the organization had raised are to be used exclusively for the original purpose of the RENEWS non-profit organization, which was disbanded at the wishes of its board, including Roy’s mother Karen Estey. “We felt the mission of RENEWS would be well served by Memorial Hospital and will continue to be stewarded by hospital employees who wish to honor Roy’s memory,” continued Vigeant.
RENEWS board members including Memorial’s Vice President of Patient Care Services Ethnee Garner, radiology technician James Love and physician Angus Badger gathered with Memorial’s President and CEO on a warm spring day to pass the proverbial baton and begin RENEWS' new existence once again at the hospital where it began. Garner will continue to process applications for RENEWS scholarships.
More can be found at www.memorialhospitalnh.org/renews including instructions for applying for aid, and information on how to donate to RENEWS. All donations to RENEWS will continue to be used only for local programs and services related to water safety.
About Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, family birthing center, sleep center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services and the Miranda Center for Diabetes. Physician practices include primary care and family medicine, women's health, orthopedics and sports medicine. The Merriman House, a 45-bed nursing home specializing in Alzheimer's and other memory disorders, is also located on the hospital campus. Together, our staff and providers are committed to meeting the health needs of the Mt. Washington Valley and surrounding communities by collaborating with community partners in the delivery of accessible, comprehensive, compassionate, and quality health care.