25 Years of Volunteering and Giving
Marlene Wilke was born and raised in Columbus, and she has watched this town evolve into the thriving community it is today.
She grew up on her parents’ farm in the Columbus area. Then when she was grown, she married a farmer, Milt, and they raised their son and three daughters in the farming life, too.
“When Milt retired, we transferred the farm to our son so he could manage it. Then we moved into town in Columbus,” Wilke said.
Milt passed away soon after, and Wilke found herself starting a new chapter in life ? one that she had not planned. It was around that time that she started volunteering at Columbus Community Hospital, and she has generously given her time and financial gifts to the Hospital ever since.
A Dedicated Volunteer
Wilke has served as a volunteer at the Hospital information desk for nearly 25 years. She provides information and helps people find what they need when visiting the hospital.
“I really enjoy what I’m doing at the Hospital,” Wilke said. “I spend my time answering questions at the desk, and I get the chance to visit with so many people. When I see a need, I try to fill it.”
‘You always get more out of it, than you put in it,’ is a quote Wilke heard at a meeting in her younger years. It has inspired her on her lifelong volunteering efforts.
Volunteering 10 to 12 hours every month also keeps Wilke active and connected with people in the community.
“Since I have lived here my whole life, I know a lot of people, but there are always new people to meet because this town keeps growing,” she said.
Wilke is also a longtime supporter of the Hospital Foundation and has contributed to many successful fundraising campaigns.
In recent years, a wide-bore MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) system and 3-D mammography system were installed thanks in part to contributions from the Foundation.
“Even if I am just a small part of it, it feels good to know that the fundraising efforts have been successful,” Wilke said. “The donations made it possible to purchase equipment that helps the patients who come to the Hospital.”
For Wilke, donating time and money to the Hospital is a way to support her community and its future.
Connected to the Hospital
Wilke believes the Hospital is the heart of the community because so many lives are touched by health care. In her own family, the connection with the Hospital spans multiple generations.
“My parents lived in the area and received services at the Hospital, and now I have children and grandchildren who live here, too,” Wilke said.
Wilke has four children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, and she loves spending time with her family.