07 Mar History of the Arizona Nurses Association Vest – as told by Mary Griffith, RN, BSN
Margaret (Marge) Drugay of Tucson AZ was the first PAC chair for the Arizona Nurses Association (AzNA). Marge was the one who obtained the vest, but the exact origin is uncertain. The photos of Marge in the vest are from 2002. At that time, AzNA held public challenge competitions at luncheons to raise money for the PAC and Marge wore the vest to generate attention and encourage people to make a pledge. Marge wore the vest at PAC meetings until she passed it on to the next PAC chair, Laurie House. Around that time, Anne McNamara got the idea to “auction” the vest with the highest bidder earning the right to wear it until the next auction. It had to be returned to AzNA PAC during the next state nurses annual symposium or convention to be auctioned again. Marla Weston, who was the AzNA Executive Director from 2001 to 2005, bid on it at one of the conventions and then Marla left Arizona for Washington, DC to be CEO for the American Nurses Association. The vest was forgotten and its whereabouts were unknown until, in 2013, the current Executive Director of AzNA, Robin Schaeffer, asked Mary Griffith to chair the PAC. Mary remembered the PAC fundraisers that featured the vest and began asking members if anyone knew what happened to it. Someone suggested to Mary to call Marla to see if she knew what happened to the vest and Marla had it. Marla returned the vest and since then, it has been “purchased” by individuals and chapters. The Mesa AzNA Chapter had a member wear it in the desert as they participated at a water table for a marathon. There have been many PAC donors who served as custodians of the vest over the years. At the 2017 Biennial AzNA Convention, a generous donor bid on the vest and then handed it to Denise Link to proudly wear during her campaign for the Arizona House of Representatives for LD 24. It is Denise’s to care for until the next AzNA convention when it will be returned to be auctioned off again to raise funds to support candidates whose agenda aligns with the AzNA Public Policy Agenda.