It’s Our Hospital – Penny Rolinski

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By Penny Rolinski, Executive Director, PEC Memorial Hospital Foundation

I have been amazed at the interest and concern over my leaving the Hospital Foundation. I shouldn’t be, because I know how much the hospital means to the community.

Why am I leaving? Really, it’s because of family commitments: not because I was asked to, not because I don’t like my job, not because something’s wrong. I simply can’t make it work – not without tremendous stress on me and my family, or without the risk of doing a very important job very badly.

So, what is happening? My daughter attends an elective school program in Belleville. From the start there was no promise of bus transportation: if there was an existing bus route we could use it, but there would be no special run for the handful of County kids. This year there was an existing bus run. Next year there isn’t. We either pull her out of a program that she loves and in which she is doing very well, or we drive her. Between drop off and pick up, I could only guarantee to be available for five hours in the middle of the day. There is no way the Executive Director’s job can be done – well – in only five hours a day.

Couldn’t we hire a driver? Maybe. We could pay someone to spend an hour and a half, twice a day, driving to Belleville and back, or hire a service. Either option would be expensive. And both options assume Mama Bear would willingly put her child, alone, in a car for three hours a day with someone she barely knows.

Who quits a job to drive their kid to school? The answer is someone who believes that the better your education, the better your chance of a good future, and … someone who can. As a family, we are extraordinarily lucky that we can get by without my wages. I know that’s a luxury most people don’t have.

Could we carpool with the other families? Possibly. But trying to coordinate my husband’s schedule and my own this past year has been mind-bogglingly complicated with last-minute meetings, bus cancellations, after-school practices. Add a couple of other families, with their busy schedules, for ten trips a week, say 40 each month over 10 months: that’s going to be fun!

The short answer is that my daughter is more important to me than anything else in the world. I can’t be replaced as a Mom. I can be replaced as an employee. I’m leaving with absolute faith that the Hospital Foundation is going to flourish without me. I know this because I have worked very hard over the past two and a half years to be sure of that. My goal was to prepare this organization to launch a major fundraising campaign – and boy, are they ready!

Will I miss it? Absolutely. I’ve been privileged to meet countless amazing people in the past couple of years. From donors who scrape together whatever they can and walk a cheque in to the office every year, to the astounding staff of the hospital – the reason Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital is so loved.

That’s why I’m continuing with my monthly donation and why I plan to volunteer. Besides, I’ll be around until the end of June while we find a new Executive Director to lead the charge!

For more information about the Foundation and how you can help, you can contact Penny at 476 1008 ext. 4503, or Briar at ext. 4425, or Marthe at ext. 4502, or visit our website at