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Unconventional Donations | Volunteerism at Altru Health System
Our Stories

Unconventional Donations | Volunteerism at Altru Health System

April 08, 2016

“Do your little bit of good wherever you are. It is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
-Desmond Tutu

When you think of giving back, you may think of donating an item for a silent auction or giving money to raise funds for a cause. Yet, there are many options for giving back to our local community. Let’s explore a few ways local volunteers give back to Altru’s patients and families.

Giving Time and Fuel

Henry Marxen’s donation is in the form of time and fuel. Henry began volunteering for Altru’s Hospice in 2013. Since, he has donated his time, use of his vehicle and countless tanks of fuel to visit and deliver supplies to hospice patients.

“In our rural communities, Altru’s Hospice volunteers put on the miles,” explains Jessica Gowan, volunteer supervisor. In 2015, Henry spent 69 hours delivering supplies to patients. Although miles are not tracked per volunteer, the amount of hours can paint a picture of the distances Henry traveled last year.

“It is a time of opportunity,” Henry explains. “You are able to see each day how what you are doing helps the families. I get more out of it than the people do.”

Volunteers are available to help with respite care, companionship, providing a homemade meal or treats, and even pet therapy. In 2015, Altru’s Hospice volunteers donated over 1,700 hours of delivering supplies, visiting patients, performing office duties and running errands for patients and families.

Alice Sevigny

Note: Alice passed away April 4, 2016. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Sharing Talent

Nancy Schumacher has worked as a registered nurse in same-day surgery at Altru Health System for the past 33 years and has always enjoyed photography as a hobby. When she took her daughter’s graduation pictures, she had no idea it would lead to starting her own part-time business, Nancy Schumacher Photography.

Nancy was kind enough to volunteer her time and talent to photograph Alice Sevigny with her family, who was receiving care from Altru’s Hospice in Grafton. Thanks to Nancy’s generous donation, these pictures will be treasured by Alice’s family for years to come.

45 Years of Service with a Smile

Esther Lee loved being a stay-at-home mom to her three children, but when they went off to school, she needed to be surrounded by people. That’s when she started volunteering at Deaconess Hospital—45 years ago! Today, at 87 years old, she can still be found on Wednesdays volunteering at the front desk of Altru Hospital.

“I call it my therapy day,” chuckles Esther. “I like to be around people. When you see how much other people have going on, you stop feeling sorry for yourself. I help in any way I can—whether sorting mail, visiting with family or helping visitors find their way.”

Esther and Barbara Schempp

Esther is Altru’s longest-serving volunteer.

During 2015, there were 133 adult volunteers and 191 student and junior volunteers, for a total of 324 volunteers. These volunteers provided services to over 49 departments. The total number of service hours for 2015 was 19,617 which, according to the Independent Sector, has an estimated dollar value of over $492,995 of contributed time.

  • Volunteer Stats

Other volunteer statistics from 2015:

  • 9 families volunteered together
  • 8 pet therapy teams made 93 visits
  • Volunteers spent 326 hours in orientation to Altru Health System
  • The most time contributed by a single volunteer in 2015 was 931 hours
  • Volunteers assembled 20,513 patient packets
  • 21,600 colorectal screening letters were stuffed for mailing
  • The estimated dollar value of volunteer support at regional locations was $28,480

Thank you to all of our volunteers, like Henry, Nancy, and Esther, who help us provide world-class care to our patients and families.

If you would like to recognize a volunteer and make a donation to Altru’s Volunteer Services or Altru’s Hospice in their honor, please contact Altru Health Foundation at 701.780.5600.

Learn more about the many volunteer opportunities at Altru Health System.


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