By Jody Weyers, Director of Volunteers:
Today, after work, I will be attending the visitation service for Dr. Mark Reinke, friend and volunteer. Mark passed away Christmas night surrounded by his family following a courageous fight with pancreatic cancer.
Mark’s courage, positive attitude and willingness to give back, is a lesson we can all learn from him and incorporate into our daily lives.
Mark retired immediately from his medical practice upon learning of his diagnosis in December 2012. During his last year Mark embarked on a bucket list of adventures. The most rewarding adventure was being able to form closer relationships with a number of friends. He often shared with all of them, “it is not about the length of your life but about the depth of your life”. It was his strong-will to live, unwavering faith, love of our Heavenly Father, and prayers from family friends that carried him through these last 13 months of treatments and endless doctor visits.
In September, Mark called me and he wanted to volunteer. He had friends that drove for our transportation services program, and he wanted to be able to give back while he was in this fight. As a matter of fact, the last time he drove for us, was only a few weeks prior to his death. Physically you could see he didn’t feel good, but being able to help people, gave him the strength to keep fighting.
While Mark was going through this battle, he wrote about the ups and downs on a Caring Bridge site.
Here was his post on September 22, 2013
For those of you who are wondering what I do with ALL my spare time, I have finally ventured out of the house. Kathy has been after me for the past several weeks to find something to occupy my time. I am now an official Red Cross volunteer. Once a week, I spend about 4 or 5 hours driving people around town.
I get a Red Cross Chevy Impala with about a million miles on it, plug in the GPS and crisscross Green Bay several times. I usually put on at least 70 miles in a morning. This is a service provided by the Red Cross and enables people to go to their doctor’s appointment, go to work and do errands such as grocery shopping, etc. The majority of people I transport are disabled and I find this work to be extremely gratifying. The people are so appreciative, friendly and courteous. If I am 15 or 20 minutes early, more often than not, the clients will be sitting on their front step waiting for me. And boy, do they love to talk!
Sometimes I think I’m their social contact for the day. I get the lowdown on their doctors, the Packers and their neighbors. They are a hoot! Anyway, this is a great experience for me and I would highly encourage everyone to consider volunteering in your community. It’s a win-win for everyone. I feel so much better about helping others and the 4 hours are a minuscule part of my week. I know we’re all busy, some more than others. Believe me, I was there. If you get a chance, at least consider giving back to your charity or community. You won’t be sorry and the rewards to yourself and others outweigh any inconvenience.
Our thought and prayers go out to Mark’s family and friends and we thank you for sharing him with us for his last few months.
The New Year is upon us, and if you are looking to make a change, or a “resolution” think about volunteering. I know someone who will have a big smile on their face from above if you do!