Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Ray Ulvenes

Ray Ulvenes has been a volunteer at Mercy Medical Center since December of 2015 accumulating over 590 hours of service. He volunteers in Transport which includes running errands, transporting patients, and helping hospital visitors find their way around the hospital. Ray also volunteers at his church helping with the Knights of Columbus group.

Ray got bored sitting at home during the winter when he couldn't golf (which is one of his favorite hobbies), so he decided to become a volunteer at Mercy. He enjoys volunteering so much that he even quit a golf league to be able to keep his spot in Transport! His favorite part about volunteering is just being able to help people out; he also enjoys talking to the patients and the friendly staff.

Besides golfing, Ray has recently become an amateur photographer and an amateur radio operator, his furthest interaction over the radio was with a man all the way in Tasmania. He also does woodworking and collects old cameras; he has around forty of them!

Ray is easy to talk to, friendly, goofy, and a great person to volunteer with. When asked what the one thing he would like to see change in the world was, he responded with, "I want people to stop fighting and just get along, respect their differences and move on."

Article by: Haylee Hopp, Field Placement Student
Volunteer Services

Meet Gail Sullivan

By Mai Xiong, Field Placement Student, Volunteer Services

Gail Sullivan has been a volunteer at Mercy Medical Center since July of 2016 accumulating over 120 hours of service. She volunteers in Medical Staff Services completing clerical tasks and with Children's Screening Services as a vision screener.

A recent retirement and the need to be active sparked Gail's interest in becoming a volunteer. Mercy's excellent service and friendly atmosphere made it an easy decision for Gail to volunteer here. Outside of the hospital, she also gives her time to her church on the finance committee and by providing hospitality. Her favorite part of volunteering is getting to meet new people every day. Aside from volunteering, Gail's hobbies include: reading, biking, walking her dog, and helping with her grandchildren.

The staffs here have nothing but positive praise for Gail. Judy Viczian, the regional manager of Medical Staff Services says Gail makes a 'great addition to the team' and describes her as a 'wonderful' person.

Gail encourages everyone to get out and volunteer. She says there are so many opportunities, the training is easy, and there's always someone to ask when a question arises. With her positive outlook in life, Gail hopes that everyone can learn to "agree to disagree." This is the change she would like to see in the world.

Meet Kristal Wiese "Everything happens for a reason"

By Amy Geurden, Field Student Volunteer 

Kristal Wiese started volunteering at Mercy Medical in July of 2015. She began volunteering in the Patient Access/ER Reception area.  In 2016, she added the assignment of field student volunteer in the areas of Patient Access and Volunteer Services.  Kristal is a student at Marian University in Fond du Lac majoring in Radiological Technology and has a double minor in Communication and in Leadership. She will be schooling and training on site at Mercy beginning in August for the Radiological Technology program.

Little did she know that her volunteer experience and field placement experience would lead to a job at Mercy. Kristal recently applied and was hired as a receptionist in outpatient testing. She is also continuing to volunteer by helping volunteer services with Project Search.

Kristal says her favorite part of volunteering is seeing the different areas of the hospital, networking, and gaining a better understanding of how a hospital runs behind the scenes. It also has given her a better chance to practice her communication and leadership skills.   

“I love the people I work with, and I love helping people get their tests done so they can receive answers in a timely manner,” says Kristal. “I also really enjoy seeing people smile when I know I’ve helped them.”

When Kristal is not working, going to school, and volunteering, she loves scrapbooking, and outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing and playing softball.

Meet Shari Carlson

By Lexi McLaughlin, Field Placement Student, Volunteer Services

Shari Carlson has been a volunteer at Mercy Medical Center for over nine years. She has held positions in several areas, but mostly spends her time at the Oakwood Reception Desk and in creating the bulletin board displays by the volunteer services office. Shari had never designed a bulletin board previously but she has a strong artistic background which helps her complete the task that she finds to be very rewarding.  Sharon has worked with stained glass, painting, silver jewelry, copper plate etching and many other mediums. Currently, she enjoys working with clay and has done so for the past three years.

Retirement sparked Shari’s interest in becoming a volunteer. Her mother, as well as other friends and people she knows were volunteers at Mercy, which is how she chose to become involved. She has also given her time to Aurora Medical Center as a gift shop volunteer. Her favorite part of volunteering is conversing with patients, staff, and other volunteers because she loves to be with people. Aside from volunteering, Sharon’s hobbies include: fishing, photography, baking pecan pies and making special cookies. Her husband was the fire chief for eleven years, which also kept Shari busy as she graciously baked and crafted to help fundraise for the fire department. We appreciate Shari for sharing her talents at Mercy. 

Meet Karen Reiter

By Kelsey Kastorff, Field Student Volunteer

Karen began volunteering at Mercy Medical Center in 2014 after she retired from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Polk Library. Karen volunteers at the north reception desk as well as with Children’s Screening Services. This group of volunteers screens for general vision, depth perception and color blindness in various daycares, preschools, public and parochial schools in the Oshkosh area. Karen said that she loves being able to visit all of the different schools and enjoys interacting with the children.

In addition to volunteering at Mercy Medical Center, Karen is also involved in the American Association of University Women where she is the Chair of the Scholarship committee. When asked what she likes best about volunteering, Karen replied that volunteering gives her a new purpose; she loves helping others and being able to meet and interact with many different people throughout the day. One thing that Karen said about being able to volunteer is that you are able to give what you get back. If you are able to give to others, they will do the same for you in return. Whether that is through a simple smile or a hello, it can make a world of a difference in someone’s life.

Meet Carol and Dick Mueller

By Maineng Lor, Field Student Volunteer

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”  –Dr. Suess

Carol and Dick Mueller are one of twelve married couples that volunteer at Mercy Medical Center. Carol, a former Mercy R.N. and Manager, serves on Patient Care Unit One helping with clerical tasks. Dick serves at the Information Desk. He began volunteering in 2011 after retiring from the Leach Company and Carol followed suit in 2014 after retiring as a Nursing Home Administrator.  They both enjoy Mercy and their volunteer roles.  Together they have donated over 1,232 hours of service. 

Carol states, “Our goal is to give back to others as long as we are healthy.”  The most captivating thing about this couple is their desire for social contact. They have been married for 46 years and they love keeping busy together while including others along the way. Their monthly schedule usually fills up quickly.

As the quote above mentions, Carol and Dick are a couple who truly keep their eyes open for opportunities to serve. The best thing about them is they are not only keeping their eyes open around them but they also find great joy in keeping their eyes on the one above. Their faith is evident through the works they do, and it has been a blessing to have them as a double asset at Mercy Medical Center.

We have a record number of couples volunteering at Mercy.  In addition to Dick and Carol, the following couples also donate their time: Paul & Sandy Ansfield, Bill & Pat Brown, Dale & JoAnn Drake, Tom & Sue Kirsling, Ron & Juanita Schmitz, Jim & Shirley Skroski, Randy & Carolyn Sturma, John & Judy Tracy, Tom & Joan Weber, Floyd & Jean Wouters and Jack & Nancy Zolkowski.   If you have a spouse who may be interested in joining you as a volunteer, please let us know.  We would be happy to accommodate.

Meet Jim Pappenfuss and Prince

By Laura Roth, field student volunteer

Jim is a Pet Therapy volunteer with his therapy dog, Prince, a 4-year-old golden doodle (golden retriever/poodle mix). Jim and Prince visit patients all over the hospital, including some of their favorite areas: Behavioral Health, Intensive Care Waiting Room, Rehab Unit, and the Cancer Center.  

Jim enjoys volunteering and he has been doing pet therapy for 17 years, 5 of which have been with Mercy. They love interacting with people and cheering up others. His “big ball of cotton candy”, Prince, interacts with patients, visitors, and staff in a way that is remarkable, with a calm kindness and love. The duo brings smiles and joy to everyone around.  

In addition to volunteering at Mercy, Jim and Prince volunteer at Aurora, Affinity Hospice, nursing homes and The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother at Franciscan Courts. During his free time, Jim enjoys spending time with his family and grandkids and wintering in Florida.

Meet Jim Johnson

By Lauren Pietkiewicz, field student volunteer

Jim started volunteering with Mercy Medical Center in 2004 and since then he has put in over 2,000 hours! He began volunteering because of a close friend who asked him to try it out and he has been hooked ever since.

Jim volunteers mainly in Transport and occasionally with special short-term projects. His favorite part about volunteering in Transport is escorting patients. He loves meeting new people with all different personalities. The patients really appreciate the help, which makes transporting them more fun!

Jim states, “If you like working with and meeting people, helping the community, and a variety of tasks, transport is the place to be!”  When Jim is not volunteering, he babysits for his eight year old granddaughter. He is also treasurer of the Oshkosh Gymnastics Center Booster Club. Jim is also a season ticket holder for the Green Bay Packers and enjoys going to the games to root for the team.

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