MLHS Auxiliary Volunteer of the Year

January 7, 2021

Mille Lacs Health System is proud to recognize Marilyn Mertens as the 2020 Auxiliary Volunteer of the Year. Marilyn (who is a past MLHS employee) has been a member of the MLHS Auxiliary since its formation in 2004.

Marilyn’s journey started with volunteering at the new kiosk gift shop the Auxiliary had just set up. She found it enjoyable to meet new people and help raise funds for MLHS. Marilyn notes, “I’ve met a lot of good people in Auxiliary.”

In 2008, Marilyn was elected Secretary, and put in a few hours each month writing up the minutes, printing them out along with the member labels for mailing out the minutes.

“I liked this part because I could print out labels with art for each month giving members a little joy when they received their envelopes. I also printed out some of the sale flyers that Bobby Johnson designed, and that’s what Auxiliary is all about – working with the members to get things done” said Mertens.

Some of the projects Marilyn has worked on directly for our patients include “walker bags” to which the Auxiliary has donated over 100 to our seniors who use walkers. The walker bags inspired ice pack covers for Lake Song Assisted Living which then expanded to other areas of use such as Surgery and the Hospital. Each patient who needs one is able to take it home with them.

Additionally, other sewing projects include neck pillows for Same Day Surgery and Infusion Therapy for comfort when patients are sitting in the recliner chairs for extended periods of time.

Besides creating items for patients’ comfort, raising money through the various sales and fundraisers is a main purpose of the Auxiliary. Some of the big items the Auxiliary has helped fund include: the new ambulance, a stretcher that can hydraulically lift patients into the ambulance preventing injuries, and new “Annies” for resuscitation training.

Marilyn has jokingly been referred to as the “Eternal Secretary” as no one has wanted the job. Marilyn notes, “I kept hearing ‘but you do such a good job’ so I’d give in and do another term. Now as new members have joined we will have a new secretary, and my 14 years are over. I still will be a member and help as much as possible for fundraising. It’s been an enjoyable time.”