Donna Oldorf's Gift Leads the Way for Community's First Hospice House
"This extraordinary gift will benefit families in Eastern Iowa for years to come. The Oldorf family's generosity will provide comfort and compassion to those at the end stage of life, and for that, we are eternally grateful."
These words were spoken by Mercy Medical Center President and CEO, Jim Tinker, upon news that Donna Oldorf was contributing $1.1 million to build a hospice house in memory of her late husband, Dennis. Dennis was President and CEO of Lil' Drug Store.
Dennis received Hospice of Mercy's services during the last 18 months of his life. Donna and her children, Suzy DeWolf and Forbes Oldorf, were impressed by the level of services and more importantly, the care that Dennis received. "It is with deep gratitude for everything that Hospice did for our family that we make this gift. Dennis provided well for us and this gift represents a continuation of his life."
The Hospice of Mercy staff and volunteers provided a wide range of support and services for Dennis and his family. Suzy states, "Before our experience I had no concept of what Hospice did. Just knowing that someone was always there to take care of my dad and provide respite for my mom gave me great peace of mind."
Donna explained further, "Not only would they administer medications and check vitals, they would drive Dennis to the office and wait to bring him back home. One day I looked outside and saw a volunteer weeding my garden! You can't imagine how much those little things meant. They brought some normalcy to our lives."
One Hospice staff member in particular was singled out by Donna. Robin Borrett provided daily care for Dennis and quickly became a family friend. Her expert care and true concern for Dennis and the family were invaluable. Robin still calls and checks on Donna.
Donna's gift proved timely. During the preceding months, a petition was circulated throughout the community expressing a need for a free-standing Hospice House. The petition drive was spearheaded by Bill Elkington and more than 3,500 signatures were collected. The petition was presented to Mercy's Chief Operating Officer, Tim Charles.
"We were amazed at the widespread community support for a hospice house. Now with Donna's generosity, we are thrilled to make this dream a reality," Tim explained.
Last September the Oldorf family attended a memorial service for Hospice of Mercy patients who had died in the last six months. Witnessing firsthand the number of people who were touched by Hospice of Mercy truly moved them. It was then that Donna knew the value and impact her gift could make to future families.
Both Donna and Suzy agreed, "Mercy's hospice house will especially benefit older people who don't have the ability to care for themselves or have family members available to help them. It can also provide necessary respite care for exhausted caregivers. There's a tremendous need for this type of facility."
Thanks to his family's generosity, Dennis Oldorf's legacy will live on.