Pam Mork, RN, former Director of Nursing at ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin, knew her passion of caring for others would continue after she retired from health care in 2021. She recently channeled her medical knowledge and compassion through a mission trip. Mork, along with other current and former ThedaCare team members, completed a mission trip to Kenya in summer 2022 through New Life Community Center.
The group provided care for more than two dozen boys at a local orphanage. They also ran a medical clinic for the surrounding villagers and provided care to more than 525 adults and children.
“Many of the villagers had dental issues, and we were blessed to have a Kenyan dentist join our team,” said Mork. “We were also able to distribute 85 pairs of reading glasses, treat gastrointestinal ailments, respiratory conditions, joint pains and injuries and debride and clean wounds. It was a privilege to provide medical care, everyone was so grateful and deserving.”
The group made lasting memories with the boys at the orphanage and villagers.
“Our free time was spent playing games, singing songs, reading, telling stories and loving the boys,” said Mork. “Our laps were never empty, often filled with as many boys as our arms could hold. The entire trip was life-changing.”
Mork said that of the group that took part in the mission trip, there were two physicians, three registered nurses, two medical assistants, one paramedic/LPN and two others.
“I was a bedside nurse for 30 years, and then director of nursing before retiring,” she said. “Caring for people came right back to me. It was like no time had passed, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to use my skills to help others.”
Mission Trip Made Possible Thanks to Jodie Kacer Mission Trip Scholarship
Mork’s mission trip to Kenya had a special connection. Some of those attending received financial support through the ThedaCare Family of Foundations and the Jodie Kacer Mission Trip Scholarship.
The scholarship was established by the late Jodie Kacer, who was an employee of ThedaCare for more than forty years, working in health care and human resources at Theda Clark Hospital in Neenah. Kacer passed away in 2012.
“Jodie had a passion to help others,” said Carol Kacer, Jodie’s sister-in-law. “Each year, she spent several months volunteering in Africa and Guatemala, so her desire was to establish a scholarship for ThedaCare employees (or former employees) who bring medical aid to under-served populations through a mission trip.”
Carol Kacer said she was happy to learn the funds would be used for a mission trip.
“It is important for us to keep her memory alive,” said Carol. “It’s like her life and passion continues. We want people to know these funds are available. She would want them to continue doing this work for those people she cared about. She would be thrilled about the mission trips.”
Mork and her group paid personal expenses for their recent trip to Kenya. The group raised funds through brat and pizza sales, other projects and fundraising. After learning about the scholarship, they applied and were awarded $5,000 and divided funds for the ThedaCare team members.
To qualify, applicants must:
- Be a current employee of ThedaCare or a former ThedaCare employee who left the organization in good standing.
- Be traveling within the United States, US Territories or internationally to help organizations bring medical aid to under-served populations.
- Be participating in a mission trip coordinated by a non-profit organization.
“I never had the opportunity to personally meet Jodie,” said Mork. “After taking part in a mission trip to the same place she went, I wonder if she walked in the same places, cared for some of the same families. I wish I would have known her. I believe we are carrying on her legacy and honoring her passion.”
Heart of a Donor Series
This article is part of a planned series featuring generous donors who support the ThedaCare Family of Foundations. Donations to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations help fund projects and programs on many levels across the system. If you know a donor, or community organization, who has a connection to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations, and believe should be featured in the “Heart of a Donor” series, please email Foundations@thedacare.org. To learn more about the ThedaCare Family of Foundations and the impact of donor support, please visit thedacare.org/Foundations.
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including eight hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their unique, best lives. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts about a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
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