The stress test team

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As COVID-19 swept the nation, many retreated to their homes to wait for when it would blow over. Unfortunately, things are taking a bit longer than expected with healthcare workers dealing with the pandemic’s brunt. They need our help and volunteers have been stepping up to give them much-needed assistance. Tri-County Health Care’s medical staff have been in a tug of war match with this virus for nearly two years. Volunteers help them by taking over some of the support tasks so healthcare workers can focus on saving lives. This support is very apparent in the cardiac rehab department. For years, a team of dedicated volunteers has given up their personal time to assist providers and nurses stress test patients. This team is an essential component of cardiac rehab, where the heart is monitored during various exercises.

Chris Olson

Chris Olsen helps patients during a stress test.

Since her retirement, Chris has been a volunteer at Tri-County for 15 years. She has the delicate job of ensuring each patient is safe and taken to their appointment area. Much of the job is sitting with them and making them comfortable. Several patients coming for a stress test are scared, so her favorite part of the job is putting them at ease.

The test is broken up into three parts. In-between the second and third portions of the test, she prepares a small snack for the patient. This snack usually consists of toast and coffee, which helps enhance the last part of the test. Before the pandemic, volunteers would take the patient down to the cafeteria, but that is no longer possible.

“I truly love being there.” – Chris Olsen

Carol is a member of the stress test volunteer team.Carol Melcher

Carol has been helping behind the scenes for the better part of 13 years. Before being a volunteer in the cardiology department, she worked at Tri-County Health Care for 30 years. She started as a ward secretary and then moved on to records later in her career. Carol knows a thing or two about the hospital environment. She understands the value of good help and encourages others to explore volunteer opportunities at Tri-County Health Care.

“You get whatever you want to put into it.” – Carol Melcher

Darlene helps nurses and doctors stress test patients.

Darlene Matthes

Darlene has been volunteering for 16 years and was initially introduced to the volunteer program by her cousin, Lois Miller, the cardiac rehab manager. She has assisted in other areas but is especially fond of helping the stress test team. Darlene enjoys volunteering and knows the nursing staff really appreciates the extra help.

“Fun to know your helping out.” -Darlene Matthes


“Our volunteers help make stress tests less stressful for our patients and they make a big difference in our day. The entire process runs more smoothly because of these wonderful, caring ladies,” said Lois Miller. Appreciation for the team reverberates throughout the facility. It is clear the stress test volunteers have a genuine love for helping others.

The TCHC Auxiliary: working toward a healthy community

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If you could volunteer your time bettering the community, what project would you choose? Members and volunteers of the Tri-County Health Care Auxiliary invite you to consider helping to improve the health of area communities!

Through projects and fundraising, men and women of the Auxiliary raise money that goes toward TCHC projects and community education events in the area. In fact, in the past four years, they have donated more than $38,500 to such causes. Caring Heart Boutique is another source of revenue for the Auxiliary, and together, the gift shop and Auxiliary have donated items including an advanced AED for the emergency department, bariatric treadmill for rehab, teddy bears for pediatric patients, gifts for mothers and fathers, and much more.

Members Cindy Hockert, Vonnie Perius and Karen Crandall are strong believers in volunteering and the Auxiliary. Here’s what they have to say about the group:Make a Difference with the Auxiliary placard


Why did you join the Auxiliary?

Cindy: I’m a firm believer that volunteering is truly good for the soul. The minute I was hired here, I knew I wanted to join the hospital Auxiliary.

Vonnie: I joined because I loved my job here, but my creativity was not being used, and I thought this would be my opportunity. I had put on events at my gift shop job in the past, so the Holiday Auction was a great use of my previous experience. Also, I heard some talk of a gift shop and definitely wanted to be part of the planning.

Karen: I became a volunteer when Vonnie talked to me about the Auxiliary. I was curious, so I checked it out. Vonnie is a great cheerleader for the Auxiliary. I had previously gone to the Holiday Auction, and it looked like everyone was having a good time.


How long have you been in the Auxiliary?

Cindy: 1 1/2 years.

Vonnie: This would be my 12th year.

Karen: I think I have been in the Auxiliary for five years.


What do you enjoy most about being in the Auxiliary?

Cindy: I enjoy the Holiday Auction in November. It’s the absolute best. It’s a fun night with live/silent auctions, great food, atmosphere and laughs. The bonus is raising a lot of money to further our mission at Tri-County Health Care.

Vonnie: I enjoy all of the members, and we work well together to put on fundraisers. We are all people who like to help others and do good. Donating our funds back to Tri-County Health Care to help patients be more comfortable or have equipment that will better their services is the perfect experience. Also, all the profits raised by Caring Heart Boutique are up to the Auxiliary members to decide what equipment the profits will purchase. This adds to our total dollars raised.

Karen: It’s a great way to meet people and get to know them better by working on projects and committees. I’ve learned so much about the workings of the hospital and the dedication of the employees. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with Auxiliary members from other hospitals and hear them share their ideas and successes with our organization.


What does being a member mean to you?Auxiliary Teamwork

Cindy: I enjoy serving the hospital through the various projects and fundraising events we do year round.

Vonnie: Sharing, caring, and having a great time.

Karen: It means being part of a greater purpose. Actually, I get far more FROM being a member than I GIVE. The Auxiliary does soooo many things for patients.


What would you say to someone who is considering joining?

Cindy: We are always looking for new members to join our group. If you are interested in volunteering for a great hospital, with events that we have planned year round, we would be thrilled to have you join us.

Vonnie: As Dr. David Hunnicutt would say, “The endorphins that your body produces from volunteering, or the ‘do good, feel good,’ is equal to two martinis.” You just feel good about yourself.

Karen: Come, give it a try! It’s fun and invigorating, especially the Holiday Auction. It requires only the amount of time you want to commit. I am so proud of what this group of people accomplishes each year all while having a good time.


For more information about the Auxiliary or to become a member, contact Karen Crandall at 218-640-1153 or Cindy Hockert at 218-640-3156. You can also find more here or by visiting the Information Desk at TCHC in person.

Tri-County Auxiliary Raises Record High at Annual Holiday Auction

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2016 Holiday Auction

2016 Holiday Auction

The Tri-County Auxiliary dates back to 1925, when the organization was called Wesley Guild. At the monthly meetings, members did mending for the hospital, as well as sewing new items. A 10¢ lunch was served. Almost 100 years later and the Auxiliary is still giving back to the community that they love and care about with having recently hosted their annual Holiday Auction themed, “All that Glitters”.  The event took place on November 28 at the Whitetail Golf Course in Wadena. There were 60 beautiful baskets that were donated by various TCHC


Highlights from the evening included:

2016 Holiday Auction Baskets

2016 Holiday Auction Baskets

  • 55 Live Auction Items
  • 22 Silent Auction Items
  • 62 People Attended
  • A record $11,150 was raised!

All funds raised from the auction are used to fulfill the Auxiliary Wish List grants. TCHC departments are able to fill out an application that would benefit patients in the areas of patient comfort, patient education and technology. In the past dollars have been used to purchase education technology, videos, blanket warmers, toys and/or books for waiting areas.

Joyce Jampsa - TCHC Auxiliary President

Joyce Jampsa – TCHC Auxiliary President

Tri-County Health Care Auxiliary consists of women and men who are interested in supporting our community’s health care system through service and fundraising. Meetings are every third Monday at noon from September-April at Tri-County Health Care in Wadena. Joyce Jampsa is currently the Auxiliary President. If you’re interested in joining, or learning more, contact

2015 Auxiliary donations

2015 Auxiliary donations

Help us congratulate our own 2015 Minnesota VFW Auxiliary Outstanding Volunteer of the Year!

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Nellie Wegscheid was recently named Minnesota VFW Auxiiary Outstanding Volunteer of the Year. Nellie e4feff_e5000d0d069044b1a2185d8bdd3da594.png_srz_317_310_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srzis a committed Tri-County Health Care (TCHC) volunteer and Auxiliary vice president. When asked about her recent accomplishment Nellie said, “I feel like I owed it to Tri-County to volunteer my time to such a wonderful organization that gave so much to my family and I. My husband was a Tri-County employee for more than 30 years in the purchasing department. I’m incredibly thankful.”

Janet Wiedewitsch, TCHC Staffing Coordinator, said, “Nellie has been an active Auxiliary member for more than 25 years; in addition to that, she has been a TCHC volunteer (Pink Lady) since 2004. We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated and well-respected volunteer.”

Nellie has held the office of president, vice-president and the treasurer for the Auxiliary and has served approximately 1,600 hours. She has worked on numerous fundraising events including holiday auctions, dances, Valentine’s Day projects and wrapping Christmas cookies. She not only donates her time, but is also very generous in giving of her hand-stitched quilts, baked goods, dolls, furniture and home décor to be auctioned.

Nellie Welshed sitting at her desk in the surgical waiting room, in front of one of the quilts the auxiliary made & donated to TCHC.

Nellie Wegscheid sitting at her desk in the surgical waiting room, in front of one of the quilts the auxiliary made & donated to TCHC.

As a TCHC volunteer, Nellie works in Nursing Services, Caring Heart Boutique gift shop and the surgical waiting room. She also makes basinet quilts and does other special projects.

Asked about how she feels being recognized with this statewide award, “It’s nice to get this award, though I don’t feel like I do that much. I’m going to turn 80 years old in July and I feel blessed to be able to get up in the morning and come into TCHC to be able to do this kind of work.”

Please help us in congratulating Nellie on this outstanding award and well deserved recognition!

To learn how you can get involved in volunteer opportunities at TCHC click here: