Volunteering Keeps Longtime Memorial Employee Young at Heart

Wilma Fricke

Wilma Fricke

Wilma Fricke loves Memorial Medical Center and always has—from the time she started at Memorial as a nurse in 1947, to her retirement in 1990, to her “second career” as a volunteer beginning in 2000.

During her work as head of nursing for surgical units, Wilma made many great hires, but one stands out. Fresh out of college, a young man interviewed with Wilma for a position as a nurse on the dialysis unit. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an open vacancy on that floor so Wilma put him to work on 5B in urology and nephrology.

“He did a good job,” Wilma said. “He’s been a good friend over the years.”

Since 2008 Wilma’s hire for 5B, Ed Curtis, has worked as president and CEO of Memorial Health System.

Now, the 89-year-old volunteers every Tuesday afternoon in the 6C ICU waiting room working as a calm and friendly liaison between surgery and patient families. She answers the phone, provides updates and directs visitors to restrooms, the coffee and anywhere else they need to go.

“I enjoyed nursing from the day I entered nurses’ training,” Wilma said. “With volunteering, I love seeing the patients and former nurses and keeping abreast of what’s happening at the hospital. This has been my home away from home for a long time.”

For Wilma, the benefits of volunteering include:

  • Meeting new people
  • Keeping busy
  • Staying updated about today’s world
  • Connecting with former co-workers

“You need to like and get along with people,” she said of her volunteer role. “It’s interesting. You learn a lot of things about the world today.”

If you are interested in giving back by volunteering at Memorial Medical Center, find out more or sign up today.