By Caitlin Croft

Coming up is the annual Cordelian Club dance that raises money for Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. I got a chance to catch up with Shelly Baronich, active member in the club, and Kara Kane, Development Coordinator for Bertrand Chaffee Hospital.

The Cordelian Club was organized in 1937 by a group of young Springville women who wanted to gather together and form their own special society.  The purpose of the Club from the original by-laws (that are still honored 80 years later) is that they are a Club that is “social, educational, charitable and creative.”

“I believe at the time, a member had to be under 30 years old!  Thank goodness that rule is no longer enforced – we have members ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s!” Baronich tells me.

The Club consists of no more than 35 members and one must be invited to join the club.  Therefore, if a member resigns, an opening is created.  They meet the second Tuesday of the month — only eight times per year — October thru May.  “In our April meeting, current members can present a name or names of candidates for future membership.  I was invited to join in 2001 and have been a very active member ever since!  I have met some fantastic, fun women and am very proud to say I have formed lifelong friendships by being a part of the Club,” said Baronich.

In the Club’s by-laws it is stated that they sponsor three charities:  Bertrand Chaffee Hospital, The Girl Scouts of America ($100) and the “Young Women’s Leadership Award” Scholarship ($100) to a deserving SGI Senior.  “The dance is the avenue in which we raise all the money for these charitable donations,” said Baronich.

Baronich explained, “Our meetings take place all over Springville.  For example, we will be having our March meeting at Root 39 to learn about that business.  We usually learn about a local business or organization or do something fun together – like a painting class – and then have our organizational meeting to plan the dance, etc.  afterwards.  I have learned so much about our wonderful community and am very proud of The Cordelian Club, the women who represent it and our small friendly village!”

Back in 1940, the Cordelians held their first dance in Cascade Park, with tickets priced at $1.50 a couple. When World War II broke out, dances were discontinued, but by 1949, the dances resumed.

The first project funded was an electrical surgical unit. “This group provides tremendous support for the hospital and nursing home, and we’re a stronger place because of them,” said Kane.

The Cordelian Club has been a part of funding most major construction and renovation projects that led to the current physical plant of the hospital and nursing home. “In recent memory, the Cordelian Club funded the purchase of an ocular tonometer, which measures pressure in the eye, smart IV pumps for the inpatient floor, inpatient beds, digital mammography and the expansion of the Emergency Department,” said Kane.

When asked what they are hoping to purchase with this year’s funds, Kane replied, “The BCH administrative team is looking at equipment needs for our departments that are coming up in the next few months. Generally, we try to have the Cordelian Club’s gift fund a single project so that the Club, our patients and our employees know who made it happen. We will make some suggestions and recommendations to them soon.”

This year’s dance is on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th from 7-11 p.m. at the Springville Fire Hall.  $35/ticket includes drinks, food, music, games, raffles and BLARNEY!!  Oh yeah…you must wear green! If you cannot make it to the dance, you can send a donation to P.O. Box 92, Springville, NY 14141.