Ronald McDonald House of Missoula picks up $75K gift from First Security Bank

Amy Peterson, the chief executive officer for the Missoula facility, has overseen the Ronald McDonald House’s operation since since 2015. But she became personally familiar with the program in 2008 when her nephew was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

The Ronald McDonald House of Missoula picked up a new partner this week in First Security Bank, which gifted the organization $75,000 to help fund its local expansion.

The donation continues Ronald McDonald’s fundraising drive as it looks to break ground on a larger $2.7 million facility at Community Medical Center.

When complete, the project will enable the organization to offer more lodging to families who have children undergoing medical care and cancer treatment at the hospital.

“So many of us know the stress that comes with having a loved one who is sick,” said Scott Burke, president and CEO of First Security Bank. “The last thing a family should have to worry about is how they’ll stay close to each other in a trying time.”

In August, the Ronald McDonald House in Missoula joined forces with Community Medical, the AbbVie Corporation and the Jane Heman Foundation in announcing plans for a larger facility.

The project will double the size of the current house and add eight new family suites, enough to accommodate 2,920 additional room stays a year.

For a facility that turned 72 families away last year during their time of need over vacancy issues, the expansion comes as welcome news, and it has garnered a growing list of partners.

“We’re grateful for the smiles this gift will encourage, the restful nights that are now possible and the full bellies at supper, and we’re grateful for the support of our community,” said Amy Peterson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House of Western Montana. “We can’t thank (Burke) and his team enough for believing in us and believing in our mission.”

The ceremonial groundbreaking that occurred in August was fueled by several other gifts, including $957,000 from AbbVie, a research-based pharmaceutical firm. At that point, the local project had achieved 82 percent of its capital campaign.

The gift by First Security brings it closer to its goal.

Ronald McDonald’s partnership with Community Medical will also provide a separate wing to support and house the families of adult cancer patients who are undergoing care at the hospital’s adjacent cancer center.

“We’re extremely sensitive to the needs of our community, and the needs of our neighbors across Montana who have to travel to Missoula for specialized care,” Burke said.