She’s gone on safaris in the African jungle, soared high above France in a hot air balloon, explored the frigid continent of Antarctica, and spent a lot of time in Germany where she was born. The stamps on her passport hint at past trips to Russia, China, and Norway. Her sense of adventure has taken her all over the world, but Birgitt Hilton’s heart remains in Greenville, Maine, and supporting Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital is among her greatest passions.
Birgitt, known as “B” to everyone she knows, has been a summer resident of Greenville for more than five decades. She began to understand the importance of having up-to-date equipment when her late husband Lou was transferred from CA Dean to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor several years ago.
“He rode in an old ambulance, and he said the ride was very bumpy,” she said. “I’ve asked around since then, and several people, including Dr. Peck, told me that a new ambulance could really make a difference.”
Reliable, well-equipped ambulances are critical in the Moosehead Lake region, where EMTs often respond to emergencies deep in the woods and in small, remote communities. For patients who require the specialized care provided at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, the 72-mile ride from C.A. Dean can take hours in bad weather. B’s recent $250,000 gift to buy a new ambulance is a real difference maker for one of Maine’s smallest hospitals, where hospital-employed EMTs rely on the equipment to save lives, and for everyone who lives in the Moosehead Lake Region.
It’s not the first time B has supported the hospital with a significant donation. In fact, B’s most recent gift continues a legacy of giving that has spanned decades. When a new medical office building was needed, she led the effort to raise $1 million in the community, much of it contributed by summer residents. She has held cocktail parties to raise money for CA Dean, she supports the annual Lights of Life holiday tree lighting, and she routinely gives an annual gift.
“It really isn’t about me; it’s all about supporting the hospital,” she said. “Every day there is a need to transport people to the hospital. There are hunters, snowmobilers in Kokadjo, Rockwood, and other places. The geography is huge.”
Her husband Lou, whom B married in 1957, also understood the importance of giving back. His great passion was restoring the century-old Steamship Katahdin, known locally as the “Kate,” which once transported supplies and hauled logs and is now used for tours of Moosehead Lake. The Hiltons donated the land where the Moosehead Marine Museum now sits, and they have contributed scholarships to Greenville students for decades. Lou and B led the way in developing the ski area in Greenville enjoyed by generations of Moosehead Lake region residents. Together, the Hiltons have left a mark on the region that few others have matched.
These days, B spends her winters in Florida playing bridge, contributing to the Garden Club of America, and spending time with her six grandchildren. While her primary residence is in Florida, B returns to Greenville each summer, where she has a deep appreciation for the lake, her friends, and the hospital. While you’ll no longer find her piloting glider planes or skiing the slopes of Aspen, you may see her at Greenville’s annual Independence Day Parade this summer, where the ambulance she generously donated will be unveiled to the community.
To learn more about EMHS Foundation and supporting local healthcare in your community, visit emhsfoundation.org.