In 1961, the Sun City Civic Association, the forerunner of today’s Sun City Homeowners Association (SCHOA), appointed a Sunshine Committee to help residents who were unable to pay the then annual recreation dues of $40 per home. Four directors of the Civic Association contributed $50 each to establish a fund for the Sunshine Committee. A Sick and Visiting Committee was also named and the Reverend E. Duane Thistlethwaite was named to chair both committees.
In the first year, the Sunshine Committee learned of a resident who had to pay $35 to rent a hospital bed for one month. Upon learning this, the committee purchased three hospital beds from Memorial Hospital in Phoenix for $24 each, as well as second-hand equipment and walkers. Residents also donated items and the first bed and wheelchair were loaned on April 2, 1962. All of the equipment was kept in the carport and on the lanai at Reverend Thistlethwaite’s home.
In October 1964 the Sunshine Committee became an independent chartered organization and the name was changed to Sunshine Service, Inc. Reverend Thistlethwaite was elected president and served in that capacity until ill health forced his resignation in 1981.
The Del Webb Company donated a building site and constructed the first Sunshine building at 10307 Coggins Dr. The building was occupied in July 1965 with $8,000 worth of equipment. In 1968, an addition was constructed by the Del Webb Company and interested citizens. In 1973, Del Webb again donated the land and constructed the building at our present location at 9980 W Santa Fe Drive. We occupied the property courtesy of Snyder Transfer Company and volunteers. In 1978 & 1985, other additions brought us to our current capacity of more than 22,000 square feet. Currently the inventory is valued at more than 1.6 million dollars.
Records show that as the population of Sun City grew so did use of our medical equipment. Savings for Sun City residents have been calculated periodically; in 2018, it was estimated that residents saved over two million dollars in cost of equipment for that year alone.
Sunshine Service, Inc. has received local, state and national recognition. Awards received include the George Washington Honor Medal for services to the sick and handicapped from the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge in Pennsylvania.