In Memory: Volunteer and Friend – Dr. Mark Reinke

By Jody Weyers, Director of Volunteers:

Today, after work, I will be attending the visitation service for Dr. Mark Reinke, friend and volunteer. Mark passed away Christmas night surrounded by his family following a courageous fight with pancreatic cancer.

Mark’s courage, positive attitude and willingness to give back, is a lesson we can all learn from him and incorporate into our daily lives.

(section from his obituary)

Mark retired immediately from his medical practice upon learning of his diagnosis in December 2012. During his last year Mark embarked on a bucket list of adventures. The most rewarding adventure was being able to form closer relationships with a number of friends. He often shared with all of them, “it is not about the length of your life but about the depth of your life”. It was his strong-will to live, unwavering faith, love of our Heavenly Father, and prayers from family friends that carried him through these last 13 months of treatments and endless doctor visits.

In September, Mark called me and he wanted to volunteer. He had friends that drove for our transportation services program, and he wanted to be able to give back while he was in this fight. As a matter of fact, the last time he drove for us, was only a few weeks prior to his death. Physically you could see he didn’t feel good, but being able to help people, gave him the strength to keep fighting.

While Mark was going through this battle, he wrote about the ups and downs on a Caring Bridge site.

Here was his post on September 22, 2013

523f62620dad100702823f68Mark has a job…about time!

For those of you who are wondering what I do with ALL my spare time, I have finally ventured out of the house. Kathy has been after me for the past several weeks to find something to occupy my time. I am now an official Red Cross volunteer. Once a week, I spend about 4 or 5 hours driving people around town.

I get a Red Cross Chevy Impala with about a million miles on it, plug in the GPS and crisscross Green Bay several times. I usually put on at least 70 miles in a morning. This is a service provided by the Red Cross and enables people to go to their doctor’s appointment, go to work and do errands such as grocery shopping, etc. The majority of people I transport are disabled and I find this work to be extremely gratifying. The people are so appreciative, friendly and courteous. If I am 15 or 20 minutes early, more often than not, the clients will be sitting on their front step waiting for me. And boy, do they love to talk!

Sometimes I think I’m their social contact for the day. I get the lowdown on their doctors, the Packers and their neighbors. They are a hoot! Anyway, this is a great experience for me and I would highly encourage everyone to consider volunteering in your community. It’s a win-win for everyone. I feel so much better about helping others and the 4 hours are a minuscule part of my week. I know we’re all busy, some more than others. Believe me, I was there. If you get a chance, at least consider giving back to your charity or community. You won’t be sorry and the rewards to yourself and others outweigh any inconvenience.

Our thought and prayers go out to Mark’s family and friends and we thank you for sharing him with us for his last few months.

The New Year is upon us, and if you are looking to make a change, or a “resolution” think about volunteering. I know someone who will have a big smile on their face from above if you do!

Celebrities Support Red Cross Holiday Giving Campaign

 Television, movie and music personalities urge people to give the gift that saves the day

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2010 — More than a dozen celebrities are urging their fans and the public to donate to the American Red Cross this holiday season and give a gift that could save the day for someone in need.

Celebrities who are actively encouraging support for the Red Cross holiday giving campaign include actors Josh Duhamel, Marlee Matlin, Jane Seymour, Jackie Chan and Jimmy Smits; television personalities Dr. Phil McGraw, Nancy O’Dell and Leeza Gibbons; and award-winning music stars Chayanne, Reba, Rascal Flatts, Wynonna Judd, Sara Evans and Pat Green. All are members of the American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet.

The Red Cross holiday giving campaign features an online “Gifts that Save the Day” catalog that enables people to make a tax-deductible charitable donation this holiday season that could provide food and shelter for a disaster victim for a day; a military comfort kit with a robe, phone or music card and other supplies for a wounded warrior; or basic necessities for a family who lost everything in a disaster. 

Catalog gifts are contributions toward a Red Cross program area, not a donation to a specific project or item. The donations will be used to provide assistance where it is needed most within the program area; the remaining money is put to use where it is needed most. Many mobile phone owners can also make a $25 donation by texting GIFT to 90999.

Smits narrates the Red Cross holiday television advertisement, now airing across the country this season, which describes the Red Cross moment when people go from despair to hope during an emergency or disaster.

“This holiday season, I’m giving the gift of hope by supporting my local American Red Cross,” Reba said in a video message about the campaign. “Instead of sweaters and ties, I’m giving gifts from the Red Cross Holiday Giving Catalog.” Reba also has sent an e-mail to Red Cross supporters nationwide encouraging them to donate this holiday season.

Seymour is the primary celebrity spokesperson for the campaign and will be participating in a series of television and radio interviews promoting support of the Red Cross the last week of December, a time when many people make year-end tax-deductible donations to charities. 

“Perhaps it’s because my father was a doctor, or because I played one on television, but I think my favorite gift in the catalog is the gift of vaccination against measles,” Seymour said. “It’s a great honor to be asked to take part in this worthwhile endeavor for the American Red Cross. I can tell you from personal experience that the time I spend volunteering has enriched my life.”

“You can really make a difference for a lot of families by contributing to the Red Cross Holiday Gift catalog,” said Duhamel, who promoted giving to the Red Cross during an interview with Entertainment Tonight. Dr. Phil shared Red Cross inspirational items for military members on his recent holiday show. Donations in support of members of the military are among the most popular Red Cross contributions.

Celebrities are also reaching tens of millions of their fans and supporters by using their digital media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and websites to promote donations to the Red Cross.  

For example, Judd informed her Twitter followers, “$25 vaccinates 25 children around the world against measles. Wanna help? http://bit.ly/RCHoliday.” Chayanne, Rascal Flatts, Reba, Matlin, O’Dell, Evans, Green, Gibbons and Chan have “tweeted” or made Facebook or website postings, urging their followers to support the Red Cross holiday campaign. 

Each celebrity’s work on the holiday campaign is just the latest example of their support of the Red Cross.   

A recent Red Cross survey showed that despite the economy that has impacted so many Americans, people plan to give to charity this holiday season, with nearly six in ten (57 percent) planning to donate at least $50 to charitable causes over the holidays.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.