Volunteer Spotlight | Ascension
Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus

Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus

  • Emergency care
  • Hospital/Medical Center
  • Specialty care
  • Cancer care
  • Physical Therapy
  • Mammography


500 South Oakwood Rd
Oshkosh,  WI  54904





Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Rama Alsakka

By Laura Hensel, Volunteer Coordinator

  Rama Alsakka

Rama was inspired to volunteer at the hospital resulting from a fond memory volunteering as an Oshkosh North high school student serving Thanksgiving dinner to people in need. Rama reflects, “I enjoy helping people in the community.” She began volunteering at Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus in December of 2022 and assists in the emergency room and on Patient Care Unit 2 (PCU2).

Rama enjoys working independently on the PCU2 unit stocking nurse servers with medical supplies. In the emergency department, she works with nursing staff helping clean rooms and stock supplies. Rama states, “Volunteering is a better use of my spare time and I also enjoy the friendships I have made along the way.” Rama describes herself as helpful and resilient. She states, “I enjoy a challenge.”

Rama and her family moved to the United States in 2015 from Homs, Syria. She reflects the move was difficult initially due to language barriers but now she is a flourishing UW-Oshkosh student studying biochemical science. Rama would like to continue to medical school after graduation in 2026. Rama states, “My volunteer experiences have given me exposure to the hospital environment and medical terminology I will need in the future.” In her spare time, Rama is an avid reader, reading a book each week, specifically novels. Also, Rama enjoys spending time with her cousins and nieces swimming and playing tennis.

Meet the Webers!

By Laura Hensel, Volunteer Coordinator

Joan and Tom Weber

Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus Volunteer Services found two precious gems in Joan and Tom Weber. Joan has been volunteering since 1998 and Tom since 2009, working in various areas of the hospital; information desk, gardening and transport. They both agreed the transport position is their favorite because of the personal contact with patients and hospital staff, as well as the friendships they developed with fellow volunteers. Joan states, “My favorite and memorable moments volunteering at Ascension Mercy are forming relationships and developing friendships.” Tom concurred with her statement, “I enjoy developing a camaraderie with the hospital patients and guests.”

In Joan’s spare time, she enjoys needlework, quilting, and reading. She is an active grandparent and Tom describes her as the “matriarch of the family.” Joan started volunteering at St. Raphael Church and became interested in volunteering at the hospital. Joan reflects, “We have several doctors in the family and may have contributed to my decision to become a hospital volunteer.”

Tom was motivated by Joan and his mother to volunteer at the hospital. Tom says, “My mother was a volunteer Candy Striper at Mercy Hospital.” He loves being a transport volunteer because of his love of people. He begins each transport with a friendly introduction, “Hi I’m Tom and I have lived my entire life in Oshkosh, how about you?” This introduction gets the hospital visitor talking and generally puts them at ease. In addition, Tom has a passion for gardening. He volunteers at Ascension Mercy watering the flowers in the beautiful courtyard and at Parkview Hospital planting flower beds and vegetables. He states, “I enjoy seeing the happiness on the face of patients when they visit the gardens.”

Joan and Tom both encourage people to volunteer because they enjoy “making a person’s day brighter” and the personal satisfaction they feel contributing to the greater good. Tom laughs, “Volunteering keeps me young and interested.” When I asked them about their future plans?” Joan chuckled and said, “Just keep going” and Tom proclaimed, “I plan to stay active well into my 90’s!”

Thank you, Joan and Tom, for your personal contribution, your life experience, and your wisdom you both bring to Ascension Mercy each time you volunteer!

Meet Susan Morgen and Barb Piencikowski

By Kristal Coats, gift shop and fundraising coordinator, and Laura Hensel, volunteer coordinator

Sisters Susan and Barb have something more in common than being siblings. They are both Ascension Wisconsin volunteers. They volunteer just across the lake from each other – Susan at Ascension Calumet Hospital and Barb at Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus. Susan (the oldest) and Barb (the second oldest) grew up in Chilton in a family of eight children. They lived on Brooklyn Street close to the hospital. Barb and Susan are one and a half years apart in age and are very close.

Susan (Sue) has been volunteering with Ascension Calumet for over 10 years. Before being recruited by volunteer Ann Korb, Sue had heard about the Calumet Hospital Auxiliary and hospital volunteering through several different organizations. Currently, she volunteers in the gift shop and also within the community at Homestead in New Holstein. She volunteered in transport in the past and has also helped with auxiliary fundraisers.

When Sue was asked what two words she would use to describe herself, she responded with “people person.” Sue loves being around people and talking to the locals who find themselves visiting the hospital. In the gift shop, Sue helps customers pick out items, make purchases, and helps keep the shop neat and tidy. Sue states, “Volunteering is not a hard job, it’s good for you and the patients.”

Outside of volunteering, Sue enjoys being around animals and doing yardwork. When asked what her plans for the future were, Sue responded, “Stay healthy.”

Barb has been volunteering at Ascension Mercy since 2017, when she became interested in volunteering as a Eucharistic Minister distributing Holy Communion to patients. In addition, she volunteers at the reception desk.

Barb says, “I look forward to Monday mornings and working with people, being busy and doing worthwhile volunteer work. I enjoy the gratitude I receive from people I escort to various areas of the hospital. Also, I get at least 10,000 steps each shift.”

As a teenager, Barb would walk to Calumet Hospital to work. Barb worked as a RN at Mercy Hospital for 33 years. She fondly recalls, “As a nurse, I loved being part of a team. My co-workers helped me personally and professionally.” 

In her spare time, Barb is an avid quilter, reader and volunteers preparing dinners for funerals at St. Raphael Church. Barb also has a passion for traveling. She is planning a spring trip to Peru and will visit Machu Picchu with her daughter. Her future plans are to continue to travel, “I am a good walker and I want to enjoy traveling while I can.”

We appreciate both Susan and Barb for their giving personalities and people skills. Traits they were brought up with and are willing to share at both Ascension Calumet and Ascension Mercy.

Meet Roger Grosnick

By Laura Hensel, volunteer coordinator

Roger is a retired Lutheran Minister who volunteers in the transport area and serves on the Volunteer Advisory Board. After retirement, Roger found himself looking to keep busy. He lives close by, which led him to Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus Volunteer Services. In his spare time, Roger also volunteers his time teaching a few bible classes and helping at Faith Lutheran Church in Oshkosh. Roger describes himself as outgoing and friendly. He also is very attentive and a good listener.

Transport volunteers have several duties in addition to transporting patients to other areas of the hospital. They deliver food service trays, run errands for staff, and deliver flowers and cards to patient rooms. Roger especially enjoys transporting discharged patients. He states, "They are usually very upbeat and happy to go home, and sometimes they share their experiences."

Roger states, "Volunteering at the hospital has given me a sense of appreciation for the team centered effort needed to run a hospital. The hospital staff is very appreciative of volunteer contributions. Volunteering has allowed me to help support the hospital, share my abilities and interact with people of various backgrounds."

During his life, Roger has spent a lot of time in Hawaii. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor Naval base and his command was at Hickam Air Force base. After the military, he attended the University of Hawaii. After exploration, his education and life experiences led him to choose the Lutheran Ministry as a career.

In the future, Roger may travel back to Hawaii for another visit. He reflects, "I take it one day at a time. I'll see what the Lord has in store for me."

Sister Act

By Kristal Coats

Cheryl & Mimi are both retired registered nurses who volunteer at Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus in the Gift Shop. Cheryl & Mimi are both retired registered nurses who volunteer at Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus in the Gift Shop. Mimi started volunteering in December 2021 and her sister Cheryl joined in January 2022. They both like gardening, traveling, golfing, and spending time with family and friends.

When asked what three words they would use to describe themselves, Cheryl chose relationship-oriented and adventurous, while Mimi chose ambitious and social-able. Both sisters chose to describe themselves as compassionate and that is most shown through their volunteer work.

Not only do these sisters volunteer their time with us, they also volunteer outside of the Hospital. Cheryl has volunteered with the Red Cross for their Disaster Action Team and Mimi currently volunteers with the Make a Wish Foundation. They also actively volunteer at their local church assembling the fresh lily cross for Easter Sunday and also helping with the Food Basket project during the Christmas holiday season. Mimi & Cheryl’s favorite part about volunteering is giving back and making a positive impact within the community.

One piece of advice that this sister act wants everyone to know is: “Volunteering kindles happiness, satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment knowing you’re doing good for others and the community. Passion and positivity for helping others is a must”.


Maureen Paffenroth

By Kelsey Potratz, field placement student


Maureen is a retired registered nurse who volunteers at Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus at the Information Desk. Maureen started volunteering in June 2022. In her spare time she enjoys biking, golfing, walking, reading, gardening, snowshoeing and working out at the local YMCA. She has also been a Mary Kay consultant for 26 years. 

In 1964 Maureen applied to nursing school at Mercy Hospital School of Nursing and she received a $500 scholarship from the Mercy Auxiliary. In order to receive it, she had to work at Mercy for one year. Maureen went on to work at Mercy for 44 years! We are so glad to see her come full circle and be back at Ascension Mercy as a volunteer. 

When asked what three words she would use to describe herself, Maureen chose dependable, outgoing, and friendly. Not only does Maureen volunteer her time with us, she also volunteers outside of the Hospital. Maureen has volunteered with her church through United Way, EAA, and at Oshkosh Senior Center. Maureen’s favorite part about volunteering is meeting new people and making a positive impact within the community.

One piece of advice that Maureen wants everyone to know is: “Volunteering is a good way to meet new people, prevent loneliness, and contribute to your community”


Meet Joan Bitter

By Celine Hartig, Field Placement Student

Joan started volunteering at Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus 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 gift shop 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, gift shop 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 Ascension 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 stated 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 Sandra Mitchell and Ashlyn Abraham

By Dianne Leroux, Field Placement Student

Our spotlight is on grandmother and granddaughter who volunteer at Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus, 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 Ascension 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 Carol and Dick Mueller

By Maineng Lor, field placement student

“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 Ascension NE Wisconsin - Mercy Campus. 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 Ascension 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 Ascension Mercy.

We have a record number of couples volunteering at Ascension 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.