With the completion of the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah Modernization drawing near, we reflect on the countless people who have helped bring this project to life. That includes construction workers, designers and architects, and team members who endured disruption. Another group was invaluable in helping see our patients through the ever-changing landscape: our volunteers.
ThedaCare is lucky to have hundreds of volunteers who give selflessly of their time. These individuals step up to help at all eight of our hospitals as well as at other care sites and through our hospice program.
As the construction unfolded at the Neenah hospital, volunteers played a crucial role. The process of navigating the construction changed frequently during the Modernization. Through it all, volunteers helped ensure patients and visitors would continue to have a seamless experience.
Saluting Our Volunteers
In honor of the many volunteers who give their time, talent, and treasure, we’re highlighting a handful of stories that show the importance of giving back. They shared, in their own words, what inspires them to lend a hand.
Amelia, High School Junior: Front Desk, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah
Tenure: 1 year
Role: Providing directions to patients and visitors and delivering gifts to patients.
Inspiration: “I started volunteering because I wanted to give back to this community. I feel fulfilled after I’m done working here.”
Favorite part of Modernization: “When I was working here, I saw the emergency room evolve into what it is now. It’s really cool to see all the new features that it includes because I know it’ll definitely be saving lives.”
Greg, ‘Hondo’: Patient Escort, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah
Tenure: 2 years
Role: Helping people with wayfinding; bringing the Care Cart to patient rooms and handing out free gifts.
Inspiration: After going through treatment at ThedaCare Cancer Care, Hondo saw the struggles of many people around him and wanted to help. “I thought to myself, I want to help these people. So how else? Because I’m not a doctor or anything. I thought, I’ll try to volunteer.”
Impact of Volunteering: “[People are] very thankful, because a lot of times I hear, ‘I could not have done this without you.’”
Seeing the Modernization Come to Life: “It’s great for the community. I was born in this hospital back in 1956, and I couldn’t even tell you how big it was then. It’s beautiful now, especially ‘Main Street.’”
Ann, Former ThedaCare Team Member: Gift Gallery Volunteer, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah
Tenure: 4 years
Role: Helping people find the ideal gift.
Inspiration: “The camaraderie with the other volunteers and the staff is wonderful, and seeing the patients and their families come in to shop is really fun.”
Reflections on Volunteering: “We had COVID come in [during my time]. Of course, there was a shutdown for that. And now with the Modernization, we also had a shutdown. So being back and having ‘Main Street,’ it’s just been a joy. I see people in the hallway walking through, and there’s just a spring in their step because it’s so beautiful to have a new renovation like that.”
Nancy: Print Center Volunteer
Tenure: 46 years
Duties Throughout the Years: Nancy started as an information desk volunteer. She also worked in the lab and assembled drug kits before moving to the print center, where she continues to volunteer.
Remembering the Early Days: “I was at the information desk, where we did the mail. We delivered the mail and the flowers. And as people came in … at that time there were no computers, so we had to do it all by hand. The switchboard would give us the tickets, and then we’d put them in a file. We moved around a lot.”
Best Parts of Volunteering: “Just helping other people is a reward in my books. And when you walk out, you just feel so much better that you could help somebody else.”
On the Future: “I’ll do it as long as I possibly can. I’ve had knee and hip surgery, so it’s a sit-down job, so I have no problems doing any of the work.”
“Truthfully, volunteering is more than giving of your time and money. It is a purposeful action or interaction that provides a sense of comfort, compassion, kindness, and maybe even a little joy. It is helping another person, simply because it is the right thing to do,” says Sara Reybrock, Volunteer Specialist for ThedaCare. “It is what we are all meant to do: Help someone who needs it. Take the time to listen when another speaks. Open a door or give a ride to someone who cannot do it for themselves. Make someone feel welcome and seen. That is really what our volunteers do. They offer human kindness and goodness with every interaction.”