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BVHS Auxiliary Awards Scholarship in Memory of Dedicated Volunteer


The Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) Auxiliary has awarded a $2,500 scholarship in memory of dedicated volunteer Marty Lemley to Caitlyn Couch, a 2024 graduate of Bluffton High School.

Lemley, who passed away in October 2023 at age 79, was a devoted volunteer at Bluffton Hospital. Lemley volunteered more than 7,000 hours, stopping only when her health declined.

“Marty was so dedicated to serving the community, and was beloved by so many people,” said Heather Schalk, volunteer services manager for BVHS. “She was so friendly and it seemed like she never knew a stranger.”

A lifelong resident of Northwest Ohio, Lemley was passionate about giving. Over many years of volunteering, she held nearly every available volunteer position at Bluffton Hospital. She held every position in the BVHS Auxiliary, including president, vice president, and treasurer, and she spearheaded several fundraisers. Lemley also volunteered for other community organizations and served on several boards.

Schalk said Lemley was very outgoing and had a unique sense of humor. Schalk recalled reminding Lemley of the 10-minute time limit right before she spoke at the 2023 volunteer appreciation banquet. However, Lemley’s enthusiasm led her to exceed the time limit.

“She was just so passionate about Bluffton Hospital,” Schalk said. “And she loved to talk about it. It was so endearing, and I wasn’t at all surprised. It remains a memory of her that makes me smile.”

After Lemley’s death, her family designated the Auxiliary to receive memorial donations in her obituary.

“There was an overwhelming response,” Schalk said. “The Auxiliary decided the best use of these funds would be to give them back to the community and invest in our youth. Because that’s what Marty would do.”

The Auxiliary has a scholarship committee which oversees the distribution of funds for scholarships awarded every year to graduating high school seniors throughout the region served by BVHS. This group also handled the logistics for the special, one-time scholarship in Lemley’s memory, which was open only to students graduating from Bluffton High School. Lemley’s children had attended Bluffton schools and her son, Steve, is a guidance counselor for the school district.

Applicants submitted a letter of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume. Schalk said the committee was also looking for traits similar to Lemley when selecting the recipient.

“Marty wanted to make a difference, and she knew the hospital was a place she could do a lot of good,” Schalk said. “Marty was very much a go-getter.”

Couch, who was at the top of her senior class, plans to study music technology at Capital University in Columbus. Her extensive high school music career includes, among other activities, playing baritone in concert band, singing in the choir, and providing piano accompaniment for choir and vocal ensembles. She also has played baritone in the Bluffton University concert band since 2023. Couch has taken piano lessons since kindergarten.

Additionally, she participated in the Bluffton High School drama club, played on the varsity tennis team, and served as high school class treasurer from 2020 to 2023. She has volunteered at a public library to assist with a summer reading program, as a server and lector at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and as a performer in the community with the Four Guys and a Gal Quartet.

“I think Marty would be very, very proud,” Schalk said. “She would be excited about the possibilities Caitlyn has ahead of her. I feel like she couldn’t wait to see what Caitlyn will do and how she will continue to make a difference in her own way.”

To learn more about scholarships offered through Blanchard Valley Health System, please visit

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