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Published on June 18, 2018

Gundersen St. Joseph's Steering Committee

Gundersen St. Joseph's announces steering committee for Hospital capital campaign

Plans for the new home of Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics continue to progress efficiently as the organization announces a steering committee of local leaders and residents to conduct the capital campaign.

The 13-member committee is co-chaired by local businessman David Prechel and Jim Mlsna, Gundersen St. Joseph's board chairman and local dairy farmer. Prechel and Mlsna are joined by Gundersen St. Joseph's staff and community members.

Prechel is the owner and president of Dana Foods, Inc., which manufactures dairy blends for use in food products. Prechel is also the founder of Pro Blend Nutrition, supplying products for sports nutrition. Prechel is a prominent advocate of the Hospital, particularly Gundersen St. Joseph's Rehabilitation, where he has received physical therapy after a number of knee surgeries.

Mlsna is a veterinarian and owner of Ocooch dairy, a family dairy farm west of Hillsboro. He has been a member of the Gundersen St. Joseph's Board of Directors since 1999.

"A new hospital and clinic facility will have a huge impact on the region, and I'm proud to support this project," Prechel says. "The communities of Elroy, Wonewoc and Hillsboro deserve to have a facility that mirrors the high level of care provided by the staff, and we are enthusiastic about helping make that a reality."

"This is going to be the biggest thing to happen to this region in years," adds Mlsna. "We have a great steering committee with people who are passionate about this project and want it to be a success. This is a very exciting time for everyone in our communities."

Joining Prechel and Mlsna on the steering committee are:

  • John F. Weger of Elroy, a retired teacher and current St. Joseph's Memorial Foundation chair, who has served the Foundation for 23 years.
  • J. Michael Roraff of Wonewoc, current Gundersen St. Joseph's board member and retired director of the Juneau County Department of Human Services.
  • Mike and Mark Jirschele of Hillsboro, who are local business owners with their father, Charley.
  • Lea Cornell, MD, retired Gundersen St. Joseph's physician, who arrived in 1986 and cared for patients in Wonewoc, Elroy and Hillsboro until retiring in 2017.
  • Lowell North, PA-C, a Hillsboro native who practiced for more than 50 years, who was also one of the first patients transferred to what was then the new Hospital in 1953.
  • Linda North, Lowell's wife, who has worked at Peterson Pharmacy in Hillsboro for 17 years.
  • Joe Havlik, retired Gundersen St. Joseph's employee and Hillsboro native, who continues to work for Gundersen St. Joseph's Orthopedic Surgery as needed.
  • Ashley Thayer, a Kendall native who is the director of Rehabilitation Services at Gundersen St. Joseph's. Ashley is joined by his wife, Beth, a Hillsboro native and teacher at Hillsboro Elementary for 11 years.
  • Scott Larson, PharmD, a Gundersen St. Joseph's employee for more than 20 years, who was recently recognized as the Pharmacist of the Year by the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin.

"Everyone has a passion. For some people, it's cars. For others, it's music. For the staff at St. Joe's, their passion is caring for people," Larson says. "I see it in their eyes and in the way they work. Every level of the organization has had input into this project, from how certain rooms are laid out, to defining what the patient experience looks like. I'm honored to be included in helping bring this project to fruition."

For the latest updates on the project, visit

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