Giving Back Because We’re Family

This impact story was featured in the Spring 2019 edition of GenerousLiving, a quarterly publication from Sun Health Foundation.

Ralph and Marjorie Behrens knew Sun City fairly well before they moved to the area in 1991. Marjorie’s parents Earl and Letha Webb – no relation to the namesake of Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center – had called the community home since 1969. Like their friends and neighbors, the Webbs turned to Banner Boswell Medical Center for their health care needs. Thus, began what Marjorie calls “a family affair” with the two Northwest Valley hospitals.

After Ralph retired as a sales account manager in Ohio, the Behrens relocated to Sun City. Since then, they have been loyal hospital supporters, giving their time, talent and treasure to help ensure superior health care is available in their community. Marjorie volunteered at Banner Boswell for several years in the early 2000s. “I started on the third floor and then worked in the surgery family waiting room,” she recalls. Proud of his wife’s commitment, Ralph shared that Marjorie logged more than 2,000 hours and was recognized by Sun Health Foundation for her volunteer service.

Beyond volunteering, the couple also makes memorial gifts to the hospitals in tribute to friends who have passed away. “There’s been variation in terms of where and to what programs we’ve given money, but our contributions now go to the new Emergency Department (ED) being built at Banner Boswell,” Ralph declares. A key element of Sun Health Foundation’s Generosity for Generations Campaign is a $34 million commitment to transform the ED at Banner Boswell. The Behrens know firsthand the value of having exceptional emergency care close to home.

“In 2002, Marjorie made 13 trips to the Emergency Department, including the ED at Mayo Clinic, before doctors at Banner Boswell confirmed a diagnosis of Valley Fever,” Ralph says. “The tests kept coming back negative, but doctors here were finally able to figure it out.”

Not only have the Behrens benefited from superior health care, but their daughter Darcy Douglas advanced her career at the former Boswell School of Nursing. Darcy, an L.P.N. at the time, relocated to Arizona from Florida and soon after enrolled in the nursing education program. “She completed her R.N. training and later got her bachelor’s in nursing at Grand Canyon University,” Marjorie notes. “She now lives and works in Georgia.”

Like so many programs and services at the medical centers, a new ED is made possible with philanthropic support from grateful and generous community members like the Behrens, who invest in health care. The Behrens’ consistent support over the years is a meaningful reminder that every gift matters and every gift makes a difference.