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Going above and beyond: our caregivers give back to the community

Monument Health caregivers don’t stop caring when they leave work at the end of the day. Instead, they transition from providing care to patients and focus on caring for their community. 

We’ve seen this throughout the holiday season — so many caregivers helped their coworkers, neighbors and communities. The Performance Division organized a drive benefiting the Humane Society, Women Against Violence Inc. and Monument Health Hospice House. The Sturgis Rehabilitation team collected donations from the local community to provide each of their assisted living residents with a Christmas basket. Caregivers at Monument Health Flormann Clinic donated boxes of coats, hats, gloves and other items to the Winter Warmth Project. Our partners at Compass One held a coat drive, collecting coats, hats and scarves for those in need. Caregivers from Belle Fourche and Spearfish collected items for the Belle Fourche Animal Shelter for the fourth year in a row.

The Monument Health IT Division partnered with Youth & Family Services to provide gifts for 17 area families, and raised enough money to provide a meal to every family as well. “What can I say, the IT Division team has hearts of gold!” said Sara Vawter, Administrative Assistant with CS IT Innovation and Business Informatics. “I joined the division two years ago and one of the first things I noticed was how generous they were, not only with each other in times of need, but also with the community.” Caregivers on her team volunteer with a number of charities and nonprofit organizations that benefit the community in a number of ways. “I would also note that we have amazing directors, managers and our CIO Stephanie Lahr that not only encourage these events but also participate in any way they can.”

It isn’t just the IT Division that has hearts of gold — it’s the entire Monument Health family, and our generosity isn’t limited to the holiday season. Caregivers give back to the community all year. Take Katie Bates, PRN, CRNA, for example. Katie and her husband Doug started a Rapid City chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a nonprofit that constructs and delivers beds to children that don’t have them. 

Katie Bates, PRN, CRNA, with a Sleep in Heavenly Peace bed and display.

“I started out with a goal to do 50 this year. Especially with COVID, I wasn’t sure how that was going to work, but we surpassed it quite easily,” said Katie. “We delivered 120 beds, up until about mid-December, and then because of low inventory, COVID numbers and the price of lumber getting so high, we had to close it down.”

Katie hasn’t given up though — she plans to start taking applications for beds again as soon as possible, and hopes to recruit more volunteers. She shouldn’t have much trouble. Lance Perrett, CT Technologist at Sturgis Hospital, who has volunteered alongside Katie said, “it is very rewarding to see the process, from the build and to actually delivering and setting up the beds for these children. They always have big smiles on their faces when we are done.” The Pediatrics Unit, which raised $1,500 for Katie’s chapter, will be volunteering as a team to help build beds, bringing additional volunteer power to the project. 

While Katie doesn’t do the work alone, she’s a driving force behind the Rapid City chapter’s success, and her enthusiasm spreads quickly. Todd Sorenson, Supervisor, Cardiac Cath/EP Lab, another volunteer that has worked alongside Katie and Doug, said, “When Katie approached me about helping with this project, you could tell she had a strong desire to bring this chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace to life.” 

It’s that kind of passion that makes our caregivers such amazing assets to Monument Health and the community. As Katie said, “I don’t think that you end up working here without having compassion and a desire to make things better. Whether you’re at work, or out in the community, we’re the kind of people who care.” 

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