2 Cars 2 Winners: Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The level of care St. Francis Medical Center provides is something many Ouachita Valley Employees have experienced. That’s one of the reasons why the credit union is a sponsor of the St. Francis Foundation’s 2 Cars 2 Winners Raffle, raising money for women’s, children’s, and critical care services at the hospital.
“Knowing the behind the scenes of all the things that they do here for our Women’s and Children’s center, it’s unbelievable until you actually experience it for yourself,” says Jessica Nugent, the Director of Marketing at Ouachita Valley. “There’s not a person that you can probably find here in our community that hasn’t been touched by the NICU or PICU, so Ouachita Valley just felt the need to step up our sponsorship.”
It’s hard to find someone in the ArkLaMiss who hasn’t been impacted by St. Francis. When Ouachita Valley employee Clinton Wilson’s heartbeat was 220 beats per minute, St. Francis was there.
“I had Supraventricular tachycardia which is a really fast heartbeat that you just can’t stop,” explains Wilson. “I ended up having to have what’s called a heart ablation which, if you don’t know what that is, it’s where catheters are inserted through your groin to your heart to burn the pathway that’s setting off your heart. You’re not asleep for this surgery. It’s a heart surgery where you’re completely awake [...] it feels like a candle burning in your chest as you’re getting it done.”
Wilson says the treatment they provided was exceptional.
“I think the biggest difference is that I didn’t feel like a patient, I felt like a human,” says Wilson. “Being non-profit really makes a huge difference in your treatment. When you don’t feel like you’re being taken advantage of just for your money and you feel like you’re being cared for by people who are passionate about their jobs and for you, it’s huge.”
This year, proceeds from the raffle are going to a remodel of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Francis. It’s the region’s only level III NICU, meaning very sick kids can get the care they need right here in Monroe instead of driving hours away.
Employee Kayla Albritton knows the NICU well. She says she had preeclampsia and was on bed rest for most of her pregnancy. She needed to have an emergency C-section, and her daughter, Ryleigh, stayed in the NICU a little over 6 weeks.
“It’s definitely a whole different world in the NICU,” says Albritton. “I was like ‘Nope, I can’t have this baby today.’, but they were good. They calmed us down and assured me everything was fine.”
Donna Powell also works at the credit union and had to rely on the NICU when her twins were born seven weeks early.
“You know, I’m like ‘Ok, are we going to be able to keep the girls or not?”, says Powell. “One of them weighed 3 pounds 4 ounces and the other one weighed 3 pounds and 7 ounces, and they stayed in there for a month to the day they were born.”
We introduced you to the Owens family back in 2020. Marlon Owens, Sr. works at Ouachita Valley, and his son, Marlon Owens, Jr. spent weeks in the NICU. He’s now a teenager and plays almost every sport, but loves football the most. Watching him now, his dad says you would never know he had such a rough start in life.
“No, would not be able to tell, it’s like that weight gain milk they put him on is still working so he’s grown exponentially from the time in the NICU,” says Owens.
From the NICU to normal birth, Ouachita Valley employees have seen it all and say they wouldn’t have chosen anywhere else for care.
“It’s always St. Francis and it always will be,” says Ashley Barentine, who had her baby at St. Francis. “The staff are just very nice, any questions you have they won’t judge you for it. They’re just always there and they’re very quick.”
To continue having success stories like these, the hospital needs the community’s help. You can buy a ticket in the 2 Cars 2 Winners Raffle for a chance to win one of two new cars (a 2022 Nissan Titan Pro-4X or Toyota 4Runner SR5). Tickets are available here through October 7th at midnight. The drawing will be on October 12th live during KNOE’s 6 p.m. newscast.
Here are the stories we’ve highlighted so far in this year’s 2 Cars 2 Winners Campaign:
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