Gundersen celebrates National Healthcare Volunteer Week
'We get you there.' –Volunteer Transport Services
National Healthcare Volunteer Week holds special importance to Gundersen Health System. We celebrate over 700 dedicated Gundersen volunteers this week, ranging from age 14 to 100 (yes, 100!). These volunteers support our patients and organization in ways that often go unnoticed, so we thank them and recognize the important role they play within our walls every day.
Volunteer Transport Services is one of Gundersen's more visible volunteer groups, as they are often seen escorting patients to different areas of the Hospital. However, the scope of their duties may surprise you. These volunteers may be transporting a bag of plasma to a patient going through chemotherapy, or they may be serving as a witness to a patient signing an advance directive. They can be found delivering flowers to patients' rooms, while they may also be seen transporting specimens between departments. Simply put, these volunteers do it all.
Ken Isler, a regular volunteer, described the job well: "It can get real in a hurry. We might have to deliver clothing to a patient who was just in an accident, and then another transport takes you into a room where patients are going through chemotherapy. It’s serious stuff."
Despite the unpredictable nature of this volunteer role, the regular Friday morning Volunteer Transport Services crew keeps coming back. For Dick Wieser, it's the camaraderie with his team that keeps him volunteering here. Joyce Potter, a former Gundersen employee of 33 years, said it's also the people that make this experience unique and fun. "No matter how fast or slow the day is, you always have your team," she adds.
Linda Stark found her place at Gundersen as a volunteer after she was able to retire and had time to do something for the community. She explains, "You feel like they really need this service you're providing. I have been blown away by the number of personnel—nurses, physicians—that will stop us and say how appreciative they are of what we do for the organization. It really makes you feel like ‘I'm needed."
Abby Zimmerman, radiation therapy student at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; Deb Talle, former Gundersen employee of 27 years; Bob Thompson, former Gundersen shuttle driver and volunteer of four years; and Kathy Christensen add to the Friday morning group.
Deb shares her simple motto: "We get you there. You want to go to surgery? We'll get you there. You want to come out of it? We'll get you there."
Together, this dynamic group of individuals make up what looks and feels like a family, a family that works together every day toward one common goal—to get you there.
A special thank you goes out to all Gundersen volunteers for their tireless work and dedication to our patients and the organization. Gundersen simply could not provide the outstanding level of patient care we do without your service.
If you or someone you know might be interested in volunteering at Gundersen, please contact Lori Van Lin, director, Volunteer Services by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-775-3697.