Samaritan Health Services is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Mario Pastega House with an expansion that will double the number of guest rooms in the house. The expansion began with a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 1. “We wouldn’t be standing here today without the late Mario Pastega’s vision and the Pastega family’s continued commitment to building healthier communities,” said Doug Boysen, president and chief executive officer of Samaritan Health Services, at the groundbreaking event.
The Mario Pastega House serves patients and families who travel more than 25 miles to the Samaritan hospital campus in Corvallis for specialty medical care, ranging from surgeries to cancer treatments. About one-third of the guests come to Corvallis for cancer treatments at the Samaritan Pastega Regional Cancer Center. Other patients visit the hospital for more extensive surgeries, such as cardiac or neurological, or simpler day procedures where time at the house is kept at a minimum.
Guests pay $30 per night, but nobody is turned away for inability to pay. About 80 people attended the event outside the Pastega House on the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center campus. One attendee was Tami Nightingale of Sweet Home, who stayed at the house for eight days while her husband Neil was at GSRMC following a horrific log truck crash (Neil tragically passed away from his injuries).
“I was referred to the house by the hospital staff who recognized I wasn’t able to make the 45-minute drive every day to see my husband,” Nightingale said. “To have a warm shower and a chapel to pray in…I thank God that this house was there so I could spend those eight days with my husband. It was a place to take a breath of warmth, and to sit and have a few seconds to myself.”
Guests like Nightingale were the reason that Mario and Alma Pastega brought the idea to Samaritan in 2003. Mario had a similar experience himself, staying at a hospitality house in Redding, California, while his sister recovered from heart surgery. “Mario and Alma contributed $350,000 toward construction of the house, and once it was open, he was here sometimes twice a day visiting the guests,” said Becky Pape, hospital chief executive officer.
“He took this mission to heart, and he continued to raise ongoing support for the house, particularly from the students at Corvallis High School. He was an inspiration to the youth of the community to learn the value of philanthropy.” Ken Pastega, one of the couple’s five children, agreed. “The spirit of the Corvallis community, and donors to this house, made today possible,” he said at the event. “If my parents could be here today, they would say that Corvallis hit a home run.”
In appreciation for the Pastega family’s continued commitment to Samaritan, the organization gave each sibling a money bonsai tree and will plant trees in their honor as part of the house’s future landscaping. “We selected the living money trees to symbolize lasting good fortune and to honor the Pastega tradition of planting the seeds of giving in their children and in their community,” Pape said.
Construction will begin later this summer. When complete in 2020, the expanded Pastega House will feature 24 rooms, double the size of the house as it was built in 2004. The new rooms will have two queen beds each, which will offer better accommodations for larger families. GBC Construction is leading the project, which will add 7,500 square feet to the house. In addition to the 12 new rooms, the expanded house will have more kitchen and laundry space.
“Today, the house is full most weekdays, to the point that we’ve had to turn patients and families away,” Pape said. “By this time next year, we will be able to accommodate more patients and families in the expanded house.” The Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation has raised $2.5 million to fund the expansion. For more information, or to contribute, call the foundation at 844-768-4256.