Monthly Archives: June 2014

Life Assist: Freedom, Safety and Peace of Mind

For Sturgeon Bay resident Tom Kruek, the Life Assist personal emergency system means fewer worries, and a more fulfilling life. “Having Life Direct means I don’t have to live with fear of falling. I’m able to live without anxiety, knowing that I can get help at the push of a button,” he says.

Life Assist has helped hundreds of Door County residents remain independent in their own homes. If a client needs help, a push of a button activates a connection with a care center that alerts family or emergency services. “Life Assist is really a way to give people more freedom in their lives,” says Sandy Sievert, director of the Life Assist program. “If you want to go into your garden, or walk out to get the mail, you can be confident about it,” she explains. “It also gives the client and their family a great deal of peace of mind, especially for families who might not live close to their loved ones.”Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 1.47.22 PM

The alert button is not just for people prone to falling. “The emergency can be anything,” says Sievert. “An allergic reaction, discomfort or even an intruder. The bottom line is, if something happens to a loved one and they are wearing their Life Assist device, they will get the care they need.”

Life Assist serves 300 people from Washington Island to Kewaunee County, and Sievert receives new calls every day. It’s a job she loves, and she’s been at it for 19 years. Unlike most personal response systems, Life Assist includes a personal visit from the director – Sievert herself. “I make the sure the system is properly set up and test it thoroughly,” says Sievert. “I love this job. People I visit want to offer me a cup of coffee and share their stories with me. It’s wonderful.”

Life Assist is also offered to all patients being discharged from the hospital or Skilled Nursing Facility at DCMC. “It’s an additional service we provide to be sure people have the care and safety features they need when they get home.” Installation and the first 60 days of service are free. Several types of alert systems are available, including cellular.

Even if you no longer have a landline phone system you can still receive a Personal Emergency Help System through a mobile line. Our cellular and mobile devices allow you to press your help button from anywhere, connecting you directly to the call center.  Devices are GPS enabled so that the call center can pinpoint your location even if you cannot provide that information.

The Life Assist personal assistance system is available from Door County Medical Center by calling 920.746.3578.

Running Green for Crossroads Celebrates Five Years

On Saturday, June 21, Running Green for Crossroads will mark its fifth year of offering a sustainable trail run/walk for people of all ages. Ministry Door County Medical Center is the presenting sponsor of the event, and the run fits perfectly with their mission of creating a healthier community. “Ministry has been involved since the beginning,” says race director Gretchen Schmelzer, “helping us in lots of ways, including having trainers on site during the race and purchasing bigger items like the timing chip system.”

Ministry's Dr. Dan Tomascezski keeps up with his son at last year's run

Ministry’s Dr. Dan Tomascezski keeps up with his son at last year’s run

While Door County’s calendar is full of running events, Running Green for Crossroads has the distinction of being the only trail run in the county. Race director Schmelzer is also one of the event’s founders. “A few years ago, I was off doing a trail run at another location in Wisconsin, and I thought to myself ‘We could do this at Crossroads.’”

The event attracts a diverse crowd, and race organizers are hoping for 500 participants this year.  There’s a 2k fun run/walk, and 5k and 10k runs with chip timing.  “We get everyone at this event from seasoned runners from across the state, to kids, to seniors.  We even have moms and dads pushing strollers,”says Schmelzer. “Ministry is proud to have been part of this race from the beginning,” says Deb Whitelaw-Gorski, a Ministry employee and member of the planning committee. “As leaders of wellness in Door County, Ministry encourages people to be active, and we love partnering with organizations such as Crossroads.”

Running Green is a family affair

Running Green is a family affair

The “green” component of the event is important to race planners and participants. Runners and walkers receive t-shirts made in the USA from 100% recycled fabric, as well as an energy efficient light bulb and a reusable market bag. Post event refreshments are donated by local businesses, and include vanilla ice cream, cherries, and granola, all locally grown or produced within 30 miles.  The event uses a minimum of biodegradable paper goods, and food waste is composted on site. And forget plastic trinkets as race mementos – instead, every runner receives an evergreen tree for planting, donated by Evergreen Nursery.  “That’s pretty unique,” Schmelzer says.

All proceeds from the run benefit the general fund of Crossroads at Big Creek, a 125- acre environmental preserve, located in Sturgeon Bay, right off Hwy 42/57 across from the YMCA.  It encompasses hardwood forest, pine forest, swampland, meadows, and creeks, and is well known to the schoolchildren of Sturgeon Bay, who use it an extension of their campuses for field trips and science activities. “We hear from a lot of people that they didn’t even know Crossroads was here,” says Whitelaw-Gorski. “Running Green is a great opportunity for us to enlighten the county about what we’ve got.”

Registration is open for Running Green For Crossroads, and volunteers are needed.  Visit for more information and to register online.

Ministry’s Music in the Garden Concert Series in July

Ministry Door County Medical Center is pleased to announce its free concert series Music in the Garden, beginning Tuesday, July 8. Tuesday evening concerts take place at 7 p.m. in a relaxed atmosphere in the hospital’s Green Place on 16th Place, right next to The Community’s Garden. Featured acts for July include: Swedish alt-americana band Baskery; esteemed singer-songwriters Willy Porter and Dorothy Scott; Milwaukee legend Paul Cebar and Motown/Rhythm and Blues rockers WIFEE and the HUZzBand.

“Music contributes to people’s emotional, physical and spiritual well-being,” says Kevin Grohskopf of Ministry. “We’re so pleased to be able to offer our community the opportunity to enjoy music in a beautiful outdoor setting.”

Concertgoers are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner, and chairs or blankets. Ministry’s Food for Health gardening and cooking classes, which require advanced registration,  will take place directly before the concerts. Click here for more information on Food For Health.

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Asparagus, New Food For Health Classes on the Menu at The Community’s Garden

With Door County’s long winter finally behind us, the asparagus is ready for harvesting at The Community’s Garden in Sturgeon Bay. The garden, now in its fifth growing season, gives residents a place to plant and harvest local food, as well as support, camaraderie, and educational opportunities.

The asparagus was planted three years ago as a partnership between UW Extension, Ministry Door County Medical Center and Door County Human Services. “The Community’s Garden is open not just to individuals, but also to community groups,” says Jenny Spude, founding member of the garden and president of its board of directors. “We worked with the Developmental Disability Team to help their clients learn more about where their food comes from, and to gain practical skills and job experience.”

Joe and John Flesia with their harvest

Joe and John Flesia with their harvest

The group successfully planted 250 asparagus crowns. “We had several people who took a great deal of interest in the project,” adds Spude. “This year, we had a big enough harvest to provide a good amount of asparagus to the cafeteria at Ministry.” The same individuals who planted the crowns were invited back to participate in the harvest, and they were proud to deliver their bounty to Ministry’s chefs.  “These taste good!” said Joe Flesia as he sampled the freshly picked asparagus.

The Community Garden’s partnership with the Human Services/Developmental Disability team highlights its goals of improving food security in the community, and providing opportunities for individual and group development. “It’s very fulfilling to see a project like this come to fruition. At the garden, we truly reap what we sow,” says Spude.

This summer Ministry will present Food For Health, a free program open to all adults who want to learn how to plant, grow and even cook fresh vegetables. Topics include weed prevention, controlling pests, saving seeds for next year, and preserving the bounty of the garden. Although the class is designed for adults, children are welcome and will have the opportunity to participate in children’s activities at the garden during class time. Food For Health workshops will be held Tuesdays at 5 pm, beginning July 7. Participants are invited to bring a picnic dinner and stay to enjoy Ministry’s Concerts in the Garden at 7 pm. To register call (920) 746-5994 or email