Tag Archives: volunteers

Jeff Heck: Leading and Serving

For Jeff Heck, a Door County Medical Center Auxiliary member, volunteering in the DCMC Outpatient Surgical Unit (OPSU) is like coming full circle. “I started my career as a paramedic, then worked in management consulting with pharmaceutical companies, so I’ve always been interested in medicine.” Now, Jeff is one of more than twenty volunteers who help surgical patients at DCMC to feel cared for.

Jeff’s volunteer duties are many, including stocking refrigerators with snacks and drinks, maintaining supplies and helping patients travel from the waiting room to the operating room to post-op. But above all, Jeff’s job is to welcome patients and provide a friendly face that stays with them and their family throughout their day.

Heck“When we ride up in the elevator, you can tell which patients are anxious,” he says. “I always reassure them, letting them know they will be in great hands with the phenomenal staff and surgeons.” Then, throughout a patient’s time in OPSU, Jeff makes sure they have everything from a warm blanket, to a snack and cup of coffee while in recovery. “I tell them I’m part of their team, and I’m here for them. If they need anything or have any questions, I’ll get them what they need.”

The work is easy for Jeff, because he believes in the care patients are receiving. “The staff is just amazing: nurses, surgeons and anesthesiologists. They’re all so personable and their outcomes are outstanding.”  Like all volunteers, Jeff is encouraged to offer feedback to DCMC staff. “Gwen Haight, manager of surgical services at DCMC, works closely with us and values our contributions and suggestions. Since my area of expertise was process engineering, I have ideas, and the staff is very open to them.”

Jeff and his wife, Gloria, moved full-time to Door County three years ago, after spending time seasonally in the country for a decade. “After getting settled, we began to look for a place where we could contribute.” They both found the Auxiliary to be a perfect fit. In addition to his weekly volunteer time in the OPSU, Jeff is vice president of the Auxiliary, while Gloria volunteers at the Dental Clinic and DCMC gift shop and serves as chair of this year’s House and Garden Walk.

While Jeff encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to consider membership in the Auxiliary, he is especially eager to welcome more men. “Of our membership of 200, there are about a dozen men. We want men to know they have a key role to play in our Auxiliary and there are many ways they can be involved, including those that don’t require direct patient contact. We welcome anyone who wants to serve.”

DCMC Volunteers Fuel the Door County Triathlon

When 2,000 athletes converge in Door County to swim, bike and run their way through the Door County Triathlon, Door Country Medical Center (DCMC) staff is behind the scenes, providing medical services and supporting race operations. Sandy Vandertie and Jason Linzmeier, DCMC staff who serve as Co-Medical Coordinators for the event, start their preparations months in advance. “We coordinate the teams of medical volunteers who make everything go smoothly, and provide our own staff throughout the course,” says Linzmeier. “This year more than 30 DCMC employees will play a part in the event.”

The Door County Triathlon is a community effort.  “We have fantastic engagement with our emergency services teams from all over the county, as well as the Sheriff’s Department, the Sturgeon Bay Police and Fire Departments and other local volunteer fire departments,” says Vandertie.

IMG_9884The coordination required for an event with such high number of participants is formidable. Operating from a dedicated incident command center, staff communicate with the 20 volunteers who staff 12 stations along the route, as well as two medical tents, two roaming fatigue vehicles, an ambulance and an EMS vehicle. “Every year we challenge ourselves to improve our process,” says Vandertie. “That includes being prepared for every eventuality that Mother Nature gives us.”

DCMC doctors Michael DeFrank and Francis McCormack are medical directors for the race. Last year, after overseeing the medical tent on Saturday, Dr. DeFrank ran the Half Ironman on Sunday. Then he put his medical shirt back on following the race and pitched in again to support his medical team.

In addition to medical services, DCMC donates the water, medical supplies and linens for the event. “Race participants have indicated a 99.5% satisfaction level with our medical services. We really are providing the best medical care for one of the top events in its class,” says Vandertie.


With many local athletes training for the event, the Door County Triathlon supports community health, and the event also makes a big impact on the local economy. “DCMC is leading the health and wellness of this community,” says Linzmeier. “At the Triathlon, it’s all hands on deck for the health and safety of everybody out there.”

Giving from the Heart: Karen Bournoville and the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary

Karen Bournoville retired from her job in administrative support at Ministry Door County Medical Center five years ago, but she continues to serve local patients as a volunteer through the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary.


Karen volunteers 20 hours per week as the coordinator of Ministry’s Foot Clinic that serves more than 200 seniors, caring for their feet and cutting their nails. Since many seniors can’t afford to pay privately for this type of care, it’s an important service to the community. Karen keeps the schedule, makes appointments, orders supplies and calls patients. “People are so grateful for what we do,” she says.

Several times a month, Karen also assists in the outpatient surgical and medical departments, helping transport patients, clean rooms, and perform administrative duties. In her interactions with hospital staff, she is known to say ““You let me do that, so you can do what you need to be doing.”

Karen is one of more than 200 Medical Center Auxiliary members who actively serve the community through their volunteer work at the hospital. “Collectively, this group provides hundreds of hours of volunteer patient services each month,” says Mike Herlache, executive director of the Door County Medical Center Foundation. “That time is such a valuable gift to our community.”

This month, Karen will honored by the Volunteer Center of Door County as a nominee for the 2016 Lifetime of Service Golden Heart Award. But for her, giving back is a natural way to spend her time. “I like people,” she laughs. “Volunteering keeps me young.”

Holiday Meals for All: DCMC Helps Feed Local Families

For nearly 20 years, the staff of Door County Medical Center (DCMC) have helped provide Thanksgiving dinners to local families in need. This year, hospital employees sponsored 112 turkey dinners with all the trimmings, an all-time record. The effort is a partnership between DCMC, Feed and Clothe My People, Econo Foods and the Boys and Girls Club of Door County.

Starting in October, employees in each hospital department pool their contributions and pledge to sponsor a certain number of meals. “We always try to exceed the previous year’s count,” says Brenda Leist, DCMC employee and a member of the Mission and Values Team that coordinates of the effort. Once the final meal tally is determined, the food is purchased through Econo Foods. “We couldn’t provide as many meals as we do if it weren’t for the generous pricing Econo offers us,” she adds. Kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Door County participate by packing the dry goods with the help of DCMC volunteers who work alongside them. Finally, the perishables and dry goods are delivered to local food pantry Feed and Clothe My People and distributed to families.

MDCMC Volunteers work alongside Boys and Girls Club members to pack meal boxes

MDCMC Volunteers work alongside Boys and Girls Club members to pack meal boxes

“There are a number of local families who simply would not have had a Thanksgiving meal this year, had it not been for the efforts of Door County Medical Center,” says Stella Huff, director of Feed and Clothe My People. “As a small pantry, we just couldn’t do it on our own, and we are grateful for their effort each year.”

For DCMC employees who work to organize the event and encourage their colleagues to give, the reward is simple. “We are each in the world to support one another, and we’re lucky to be part of an organization that gives us the chance to do that,” says Leist. “At the end of the day, it feels good to know we have helped put holiday meals on the table for families in our own community.”

DCMC employees also donate to a hat and mitten tree to benefit local children in need of warm winter clothing. Community members can contribute to the tree, which is located in the waiting room of the North Shore Medical Clinic in Sturgeon Bay.