The Highland District Hospital Foundation and its board of directors was created in 2001 as a bridge between the community and the hospital to encourage community involvement in the hospital’s future through financial support and management of those donations. One of the charter members of the board of directors, Ann Fender, played a large role in the facilitation of what has now become more than $3.5 million in community donations to fulfill the mission of the hospital.

Fender was a visionary who not only recognized a need and did all that she could to meet the need, but because of her persistent devotion and genuine care for her community she most often eliminated the need through grassroots efforts to instill change. Her determined example lead to the creation of the Diabetes & You program at HDH, which has helped more than 2,250 individuals manage their diabetes since its inception in 2006.

“She was instrumental to the start of this program, and tirelessly raised funds to support the program that was very dear to her,” said Cathy Jones, foundation director.

She was also very involved in the foundation’s annual Holiday Ball, where she worked throughout the year collecting intricate, highly sought-after items to donate to the live and silent auction to enhance the overall event.

To honor her amazing legacy, the Ann Fender family donated a bench that was dedicated in Ann’s memory outside of the emergency department patient entrance. Her husband, Don, along with both sons, Eric and Daron, and their spouses and other family members, attended the dedication ceremony and additionally presented the Highland District Hospital Foundation with a gift of $50,000 that Ann had earmarked to give specifically to the very cause she helped originate.

“She was someone I looked up to as a wonderful mother, wife and friend. She was more than just a charitable giver, she was a true philanthropist at heart,” said Foundation Board Chairman Vicki Rhude.

The bench dedication concluded with refreshments and fellowship among co-workers, friends and family remembering and honoring the life and contributions of Ann Fender.

To learn more about this charitable cause, visit, or call Cathy Jones at 937-393-6360.

Submitted by Ashlee Cheesbro, marketing manager, Highland District Hospital.