Local construction company makes $1.7 million donation to Penticton hospital

Karla Krook, a medical radiation technologist, prepares for a CT exam with Robert Hurford at Penticton Regional Hospital. The South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation has launched a $3-million fundraising campaign to acquire a second CT scanner for PRH. (SOS Medical Foundation)
Joe Cuzzocrea, president of Peters Bros. Construction, which is donating $1.7 million to help launch the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s $3-million fundraising campaign for a new CT scanner at Penticton Regional Hospital. (SOS Medical Foundation)

With files from John Moorhouse

Thanks to the generosity of a local business, the Penticton Regional Hospital is one step closer to getting a new CT scanner.

The South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Medical Foundation announced Thursday that Peters Bros. Construction is donating $1.7 million toward a second CT medical imaging unit at PRH.

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The new scanner will be located near the Emergency Department, now undergoing a major expansion. The SOS says the new scanner will be operational by the time the Emergency Department renovation is completed, in early 2022.

Peters Bros. president Joe Cuzzocrea said the CT scanner provides another boost to the community’s health care.

“It’s needed, the hospital is new. Let’s support it and get this new equipment for the hospital now,” he said.

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Cuzzocrea hopes the company’s gift will encourage other businesses and individuals in the community to donate as well.

The construction company has long been involved in supporting many Penticton community events such as the Peach Festival, Snowbirds aerial performances and in providing children’s tickets to Penticton Vees’ hockey games.

David Kampe, the company’s late owner, was a major supporter of PRH.

Peters Bros. has about 150 employees involved in paving and road construction projects throughout BC and operates a number of asphalt plants in the province. Cuzzocrea has been with the Penticton-based firm since 1982.

“Penticton is home and most everything we support is in this community,” he said. “We do help other communities, but not like this one. This is home.”

Along with the CT itself, extensive building renovations are required which brings the total project cost to $5 million. The Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District, the SOS explained, will provide $2 million with the SOS Medical Foundation raising the remainder. The CT was not part of the original plans for the $312-million hospital expansion, now into Phase 2.

Jeff Wojcik, section head for medical imaging at PRH, said not only will this latest model CT scanner provide higher quality images, but it will also reduce the heavy demand on the existing machine. The CT currently operates from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on-call overnight.

“We’re having trouble keeping up with volume,” Wojcik said. “We’re often trying to sandwich Emergency patients in between out-patients and oncology patients.”

Carey Bornn, Executive Director of the SOS Medical Foundation, applauds Peters Bros. generous support for the CT campaign and encourages the community to mirror their efforts.

“If nothing else, the COVID-19 outbreak has shown how important good health is to all of us,” he said. “Now as elective surgeries begin again, the addition of another CT scanner at PRH will prove even more valuable.”

Donations to the CT campaign can be made online at sosmedicalfoundation.com, by phone 250-492-9027, or by mail to the SOS Medical Foundation, 550 Carmi Ave., Penticton BC. V2A 3G6.

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