LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Jefferson Award winner Katie Cramer said she has been tired but fulfilled for most of the past decade.
Katie usually asks people how they feel when working as a nurse at her post at Gundersen Health System. She said she learned a long time ago that a person’s overall health is made up of several things. The same philosophy applies to the care of the homeless.
“When I spoke to a particular patient I asked him about life in tent communities and why I was noticing an influx of homeless people entering the hospital and he told me that was because of the Covid-19 precautions that they had to reduce capacity in shelters, which puts a lot more people on the streets, ”Katie said.
So Katie came up with the idea of bringing health care to people on the streets. She said involving her colleagues was much easier than she expected.
“In explaining this aspect to those in hospital, everyone immediately felt encouraged and agreed that they also deserved medical care and help and that they were loved as we would anyone in our hospital. “said Katie.
Hearts in the Park has just completed its sophomore year, and with each successful event, Katie said they come up with new ways to help the homeless.
“What started as an idea to just make a deposit turned into a full event where we were able to provide haircuts, beard cuts, wound care, hot meals, take out meals, housing resources, addiction resources, sexual assault resources, all in one place with volunteer doctors from all over the area, ”Katie said.
Katie thanks her mom for inspiring her to volunteer.
“She put me on the American Cancer Society Relay For Life when I was very young and I have helped her for over a decade,” said Katie.
His father also played a role in showing him the importance of serving his country. She joined the National Guard 11 years ago because of her example.
As for the future of helping the homeless in our community, Katie expects her to continue seeing them in the hospital, but if she doesn’t, she said there is always had hearts in the park.
“I’m so grateful. I’m so grateful. I feel grateful. But I also think it’s my duty to my community and I need to step up and if not me, then who and that’s why I’m going to keep doing it and I will continue to help as many people as I can. ”