Grateful Family Member Continues to Pay it Forward
Dee Ihlenfeldt celebrates her birthday each year by giving a gift to reflect her age to the Jones Regional Medical Center (JRMC) Foundation. She smiled as she remembered her gift of $77 a few years ago. Someone called her just to make sure the irregular amount wasn’t a mistake. Now she says, “I’ll just give $80 for a few years.”
Dee was a nurse at the “old hospital” for 25 years. She remembers when talk of a new building was simply an exciting dream, and how everyone was thrilled at the idea of not only working in, but also receiving care at, a brand new hospital. In 2003, before the new hospital became a reality, Dee retired from nursing to take care of her husband, Chuck, whose health began to decline due to an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) diagnosis. Although Dee’s dream of working in a new hospital never came to be, JRMC still holds a very special place in her heart because of the amazing care her late husband received. Chuck passed away in the “new hospital,” and even though it was a sad time, Dee couldn’t help but be blown away by the care and help both she and Chuck received through it all. Now, Dee looks for ways to pay it forward. She continues to contribute to the hospital as a dedicated volunteer, auxiliary member and donor.
“It’s wonderful, I just can’t speak more highly of it,” said Dee about JRMC as she smiled. “Every place you look, there is a smiling face among the staff.”
Dee says that she always hears people in the community talking about how lucky we are to have a hospital like JRMC right here in Anamosa, and she couldn’t agree more. “Yes, we are so very fortunate,” said Dee.
The gratitude goes both ways in this story. JRMC Foundation feels so fortunate to not only know Dee, but to be blessed by her smile, willingness to help and positive attitude. Dee has a constant desire to pay it forward and brings happiness to everyone around her. “The generosity that Dee has provided to JRMC will benefit so many, more than Dee will ever know,” said Sheila Tjaden, director of community development.
If you would like to join Dee in supporting Jones Regional Medical Center’s auxiliary or other areas that are near and dear to your heart, visit unitypoint.org/anamosa/ways-to-give.