When Gail Gertsch had a hip replaced nearly two decades ago she worried that it might slow her down, but she found that exercising and keeping active works wonders.
She joined an arthritis aquatic class in the warm-water pool at the downtown YMCA in Appleton and continues to volunteer in the community.
Gertsch, who retired from the finance department at the City of Appleton in 2001, volunteers on Wednesday mornings at ThedaCare Orthopedic Care at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton, where she greets patients and visitors. As a member of the Retired & Senior Volunteer 55+ Program, she is among 26 RSVP volunteers who served 1,889 hours in our area hospitals last year. With the value of a volunteer calculated at $24.69/hr., these volunteers provided $46,639 in economic impact in our community.
Gertsch also was a member of the hospital’s volunteer board for eight years and volunteered in the Gift Shop when she was employed full time.
Today, the most rewarding part of her volunteer role is getting smiles from patients and visitors when they come to the hospital.
“You walk down the hallway and ask if you can help them and they always seem to appreciate it when you direct them to where they need to go,” she said.
She also enjoys socializing with other volunteers at the hospital.
“There is a group of anywhere from eight to 12 of us who go out for lunch once a month,” she said. “And we’re all volunteers at ThedaCare.”
Gertsch said volunteering gets her out of the house, gives her an opportunity to be with people and instills a sense of community. She also volunteers at the Houdini Elementary School library, where some of her duties include setting up displays and shelving books.
She loves volunteering.
“I like to keep busy and I like people,” she said. “This is just a good fit for me.”