Three generations have dedicated themselves to service since the hospital opened 45 years ago

One family makes Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center a family affair

Image Rectfelmleys Image Rectfelmleys Image Rectfelmleys

When Martha Felmley was invited to an introductory meeting for the Potomac Hospital Auxiliary in the early 70’s, she had no idea it would ignite a passion that would consume nearly half of her life and be passed down through the generations.

“We had fundraisers to make money, and went door to door to collect money. In the beginning, it was all about money to build the hospital” remembers the soon-to-be 90 year old, smiling.  
For Martha Felmley, that commitment grew as the hospital did. Over the years, in addition to volunteering, she served on the Hospital Board of Trustees and worked in community relations, her family always by her side. That’s why it’s no surprise the hospital became a family affair, with Felmley’s daughter and granddaughter both eventually working here!

For Felmley’s daughter, Martha Moore, the connections to the hospital started before she could drive. “I used to babysit Howard Greenhouse’s children!” she remembers laughing.

Moore, now a Cardiac Systems Coordinator for Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, started out babysitting the head of the hospital board’s children. It was about that same time she was a candy striper at the hospital, and from there, she was a weekend cashier in the gift shop.

Moore came back to the hospital as an adult to continue her career, and after some time away, returned 11 years ago. When asked what has kept her coming back, she says the answer is simple, “I just want to give back to the community, and as my mother says –there are a lot of wonderful, caring people here who you want to be associated with.”

The family legacy continued when Moore’s daughter started working for the hospital five years ago. Twenty-nine year old Emma Mahon is a safety and security officer. There are family memories of accompanying her grandparents to the hospital as a child.

“She and my son used to work in the gift shop with my mom and dad. It was great for them. They thought they were actually working,” remembers Moore, laughing. And for then, 8 year old Emma, it gave her a chance to spend time, not only with her grandparents, but her favorite toys, “This was during the beanie baby epidemic!” she laughs, “I would get first dibs!”

Now, instead of playing with plush toys, Emma’s defusing situations with her words, “For me it’s all about how you talk to people, I know every day is a challenge for a lot of people. I give them respect and try to figure out if I can help them in any way,” says Mahon.

While her daughter and granddaughter continue the family tradition, Felmley isn’t as active in the auxiliary as she once was. After breaking a hip four years ago, she’s now a legacy member who’s quite modest when it comes to her role with the hospital. Luckily for her, her family is more than willing to sing her praises, “I think we’re more proud of her for all the things she has done for the community through the hospital and in all the different positions, all the hats she’s worn,” says Moore thinking back.

Over the hospital’s 45 years there’s always been a member of the Felmley family here, and there’s still hope another generation will come onboard. Emma’s has a four-year-old son, Camden. She jokes when he becomes a doctor, he’ll be the latest to join “the family business.”

To start your legacy at Sentara go to or join the Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center Auxiliary by filling out an application online at or calling 703-523-1345.