Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus

Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus

  • Emergency Care
  • Hospital/Medical Center
  • Specialty Care

500 South Oakwood Rd
Oshkosh,  WI  54904

Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Joan Bitter

By Celine Hartig, Field Placement Student

Joan started volunteering at Ascension Mercy Hospital in March of 2006 and has devoted over 10,700 hours of service. Currently, with the pandemic, Joan is crafting things from home for the giftshop and kitchen. Joan has been busy making greeting cards, candy bar sleeves, dish towels and tray favors! Prior to the pandemic, Joan was working in the craft room, giftshop and helping with the fundraising sales in the hallway. Not only is Joan volunteering with us she is also volunteering at the Wild Rose Hospital. When Joan is not volunteering you can find her paper crafting and taking a visit out west to Montana or Oregon to visit her kids and grandkids.

Joan started working as an aid in high school and then went to college for nursing. She worked here at Mercy in the OB unit. Joan’s favorite part about volunteering is giving back to the hospital. When asked what three words she would use to describe herself, Joan started that she was giving, crafty and social. If Joan were to give advice to new volunteers it would be that if you need to feel fulfilled, find a volunteer job you really enjoy and meet people around your age.

Meet Bev Fretchel

Bev Fretchel has been a volunteer at Ascension Mercy Hospital since September of 1985 and has donated close to 18,000 hours of service to the hospital. Her main areas of volunteering are in the Gift Shop and assisting with fundraisers. In addition to her 33 years of service to Ascension Mercy Hospital, Bev also volunteers at her Church and the local Food Pantry.

Outside of volunteering, Bev shares a great enthusiasm for traveling with her daughter. Some experiences she enjoyed on her travels were watching the turtles hatch in South Carolina and spending a week in North Dakota with the wild horses at Teddy Roosevelt State Park. In addition to traveling, Bev treasures time with her family, especially with her sister and her great grandchildren. Her sister is an important part of her life, even though there is a great distance between them; they have a lot of fun together.

Bev’s passion for volunteering is unmistakable and she says that her favorite part of volunteering is that she loves meeting and helping people. She feels that she gets just as much out of helping others, as those who are seeking her help. She believes that staying active, both in the community and physically, keeps her young and gives her an opportunity to learn something new every day.

Meet Sandra Mitchell and Ashlyn Abraham

By Dianne Leroux, Field Placement Student

Our spotlight is on grandmother and granddaughter who volunteer at Ascension Mercy, Sandra Mitchell and Ashlyn Abraham. Sandra began volunteering about one year ago Sandra is retired and worked for a construction company for 30 years in the payroll department. Sandra volunteers at the information desk, gift shop, and is the chair of the Collective Goods sale and serves on the MHV board. She began volunteering to give back to the community. Sandra says three words that would describe her would be, young at heart, silly, and humorous. When she is not volunteering she likes to read, travel and spend time with her grandkids and family. One piece of advice she would give to future volunteers, is to keep active after retirement.

Ashlyn began volunteering after her grandmother Sandra recruited her to join the Mercy Volunteer team. She volunteers in the emergency room, by stocking medical supplies, cleaning rooms after patients are discharged, and completing other non-medical tasks. She also has volunteered in outpatient testing and helped her grandmother with the Collective Goods sale. Ashlyn is going to college for Medical Laboratory Science with a minor in healthcare administration and chemistry. After she graduates, she plans on working in a hospital or clinic. One of her favorite things about volunteering is being in healthcare environment and seeing how a hospital functions. When she has free time, she likes to spend it with her family and friends. Ashlyn says three words that would describe her are; compassionate, friendly, and hardworking.

Meet Ray Ulvenes

By Haylee Hopp, Field Placement Student, Volunteer Services

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."

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 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 Johnson

By Clara Hewins, Field Placement Student

Jim has been a volunteer at Ascension Mercy Hospital since October of 2004 and has dedicated over 2,800 hours of service. Jim currently volunteers in Transport, but also helps with special assignments when needed. When Jim is not volunteering, he spends his time doing a wide variety of different activities. Jim enjoys spending time with his three grandchildren, working outside in the summer, and completing Sudoku puzzles. He can even be found cheering on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

What Jim likes best about volunteering is how it keeps him active and every day is different. Working in Transport allows you to move all around the building and interact with new, friendly people from all walks of life. When asked what three words he would use to describe himself, Jim stated that he was friendly, a jokester, and even-keeled. If Jim had to give any advice to new volunteers it would be to not be shy and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Meet Deb Cowie

By Clara Hewins, Field Placement Student

Deb Cowie has been a volunteer at Ascension Mercy Hospital since 2008 and has donated over 700 hours of service. She moved to Oshkosh from Madison at that time and had recently retired as a school counselor. Deb stated that she began volunteering because she wanted to continue to do something that would give back to others.

Deb has volunteered in these areas: children screening services, pet therapy, and as a tour guide. Currently she volunteers as a patient portal assistant for the Patient Access Department and as a clerical assistant for the Mercy Health Foundation. During the COVID situation Deb has been volunteering at home, in her patient portal assistant role, entering information on the computer so patients can access their health information online.

When not volunteering Deb shares a great enthusiasm for traveling. She has been all over the world and plans to pick that back up after a COVID vaccine makes it safe to do so again. In addition to traveling, Deb spends time with her young grandchildren helping with childcare. She also likes to swim, bike, read and spend time with her family.

Deb likes interacting with patients and hospital staff and the feeling of being helpful to others. She is looking forward to getting back to the hospital to volunteer whenever that may be.



Meet Tom and Ruth Nevers

Audrey of Central Supply helps load supplies with Tom and Ruth Nevers


Both Tom and Ruth normally volunteer on Patient Care Unit 2. Ruth replenishes supplies in the servers, restocks gloves in the rooms. and does whatever else is needed. Tom makes up the patient welcome bags each person is given when admitted. The bags contain a carafe, tissue, lotion, tooth paste, tooth brush, paper tablet and pen, and a pair of slip prevention socks as well as informative literature of interest to patients. Beginning this fall as our patient census has increased, Tom and Ruth have been helping Mercy staff by making up the welcome bags at home. To date they have made up 500 bags! Ruth began volunteering at Mercy in 2012 and recruited Tom’s help in 2017. Ruth has been a wonderful support in helping to train the Project SEARCH students on how to stock the patient servers. And Tom’s organizational skills have been invaluable as well. When asked why they volunteer Tom stated, “Volunteering at the hospital gives us the chance to "give back" to society for the help we have received when we needed it. We all need a helping hand at some time and by volunteering we can demonstrate the appreciation wehave for the help and kindness we received.” Tom also noted that “having been hospitalized three times in the past five years it is sure nice to have nurse friends to greet you when checking in.” Prior to retirement Ruth was a teacher of lower elementary students as well as a grade school principal for 47 years. Tom was an Insurance Company Human Resources Manager for 38 years. Both worked in Detroit, MI. Besides volunteering they enjoy tending their garden and frequently watering and fertilizing the lawn, so it can be cut twice a week, while trying to keep the squirrels from wrecking it all. Tom also enjoys writing short articles about his many life experiences. Inseparable is how they would describe their 57 years of marriage. Advice to future volunteers is “come join us in the joy of helping othersand being a part of a great team at Ascension Mercy!” We are happy that Tom and Ruth did.