By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The new president of the Lutheran Medical Center Auxiliary has only been a member of the organization for two years. But Margherita Clemento impressed her colleagues with her energy and drive and was elected to the top post after a relatively short time in the organization. “There are people who have been here longer than I have. I was surprised when I was elected,” she told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Clemento recently took the oath of office as president of the auxiliary, a volunteer group whose members assist hospital staff members in a non-medical capacity. Lutheran Medical Center is located at 150 55th St. in Sunset Park.
“We sit at the front desk and direct people to patients’ rooms. We have an ambassadors program where we stand in the lobby and greet people as they come in. We also work in the emergency room, comforting patients and running errands,” Clemento said.
Astrid Bjune is the organization’s first vice president. Eleanor Petty is the second vice president.
Clemento, an accountant, served as recording secretary before her election as president. She has lived in Bay Ridge since 1967 and is a member of other volunteer groups, including the Bay Ridge Garden Club, the Business and Professional Women’s Club, Narrows Botanical Gardens, and the McKinley-Leif Ericson Parks Alliance.
“When I take on a job, I do it to the best of my ability,” she said. “And being an accountant, I’m very organized."
Through her work with the Business and Professional Women’s Club, Clemento helped form an off-shoot group called Career Development Opportunities to assist young women looking for jobs.
Clemento became involved in the auxiliary through her sister. “My sister has been involved for many years. I couldn’t get involved before because I was always busy. But then I joined. And I loved it. Before you know it, I was very active in the group,” she said.
“I find it very rewarding. To know that you’re helping people gives you a good feeling,” Clemento said.
Bjune, a six year veteran of the auxiliary, has previously served as treasurer, special project volunteer, and has been a member of the annual fundraising committee. She was honored by the Bay Ridge Community Council as one of the "Hidden Treasures of the Community" for her work as a Lutheran volunteer and auxiliary member.
Petty, an auxiliary member since 2009, previously served as first vice president. Petty is active in the community as a member of the Dyker Heights Civic Association, Community Board 10, Bay Ridge Garden Club, and the McKinley-Leif Erickson Parks Alliance.
Jane Kelly, a former auxiliary president, has taken on the role of nominating chairman. Kelly, a well-known leader in the Bay Ridge community, has been an auxiliary member for more than 20 years. She is also an active member in the Bay Ridge AARP, the Bay Ridge Community Council, the Bay Ridge Mental Health Association, and the State Committee on Delivery of Police Services to the Elderly and the Bay Ridge Council on Aging.
Other auxiliary officers are: Alice Johnson, treasurer; Muriel Niemi ,recording secretary; Florence Schwer, corresponding secretary; and Carol Hille, financial secretary. Members-at-large now include Lorraine Caramico and Corrinne Korn. All officers serve a two year term.
The Lutheran Medical Center Auxiliary was founded in 1906. The auxiliary supports the work of the medical center through service-oriented projects and fundraising activities, hospital officials said.
Over the years, the auxiliary has donated over $2 million to the hospital. Funds are raised through the auxiliary gift shop, annual luncheon, special sales and other events. For more information on the auxiliary, call 718-630-7296.