Caption: Lexi Valeri and her grandfather, Bob Pink, volunteer together at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton.
July 30, 2019
GRANDDAUGHTER AND GRANDFATHER SHARE SPECIAL BOND IN VOLUNTEERING
Duo Gives Back at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton
APPLETON, Wis. – Between her time in high school, a part-time job coaching gymnastics and many extracurricular activities, you wouldn’t expect 16-year-old, Lexi Valeri to volunteer what free time she has available. On Tuesday mornings, that’s exactly where you’ll find her, volunteering at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton.
“I always knew I wanted to go into the medical field in some capacity,” she explained. “Being at the hospital and interacting with patients and their families gives me a chance to learn how to help others in an active setting.”
But, she doesn’t volunteer her time alone. Alongside Lexi is her grandfather, Bob Pink.
“I’m proud of Lexi,” he said. “Knowing the importance of volunteering and giving back at a young age will give her an important perspective as she continues on in life.”
Bob began volunteering more than six years ago, after retiring from the paper industry.
“I knew I had to do something,” he said. “I did not want to just sit at home after retirement. I thrive on being a people person.”
Lexi laughed after the description from her grandfather.
“Being a people person is an understatement for my grandfather,” she said. “No matter where we go, he will find someone to talk to; he will talk to anyone. I really admire that about him. It makes people feel welcomed and noticed.”
Bob knows that a simple conversation can go a long way for those who are visiting loved ones in the hospital.
“I think it gives them a sense of relief, a calming effect,” he said. “When we see worried family members, being there for them can help ease what they are going through.”
The joy of helping others runs in the family. When it was time for Lexi to apply to become a volunteer, she knew ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton was the right choice.
“It gives me another opportunity to spend time with my grandpa,” she said. “It’s nice to get a little extra time with him throughout the week.”
Lexi said that her volunteer days have confirmed her passion for a future career in medicine.
“I might not be able to treat patients right now, what I can offer is something else,” she said. “A smile or kind word goes far. Every single time I help someone and they say thank you, that makes me feel good. You can tell they are grateful for taking the time to be there for them and listen to their situation.”
Bob suggests anyone who is considering volunteering, especially retirees, to take the time to pick up an application for more information.
“You have to stay active in retirement,” he said. “If a person doesn’t have a hobby, make this your hobby. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”
For more information about volunteering at ThedaCare, contact Rachel Schraufnagel, Volunteer Services Manager, at Rachel.Schraufnagel@thedacare.org.
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to a community of more than 600,000 residents in 14 counties and employs more than 7,000 healthcare professionals. ThedaCare has 180 locations including seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, New London, Shawano, Waupaca and Wild Rose. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.
Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.