Her pockets help others get around

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 24, 2000

Residents of St.

Monday, July 24, 2000

Residents of St. Mark’s Lutheran Home love those pockets attached to the back of their wheelchairs. With them, they are able to get around a lot easier.

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Would you believe that the hands sewing them belong to a woman who will be 83 years old this month?

Alice Rohne has been a volunteer at St. Mark’s since 1977.

"My niece got me started," Rohne explained. "She asked me if I’d sew pockets for the home to put on wheelchairs."

This was an easy task for Rohne, who always has loved working with her hands.

"I like to sew," she said. "I guess that’s why I volunteered – to do that."

Rohne also is very active in other areas of St. Mark’s – she has been an auxiliary officer, serving as secretary, vice president and is in her eighth year as president.

Having been nominated for president, Rohne explained why she’s served for so long: "We can’t get anybody else in succession."

As auxiliary president, Rohne oversees several aspects, which include planning for the Christmas party, the summer picnic and Appreciation Day at St. Mark’s.

Having also helped out at its bazaar in October, Rohne said she is quite content with her job, and realizes she’s lucky to work with such a wonderful group of individuals.

"I enjoy what I’ve done for St. Mark’s, " she said. "They’re always helping out the old people whenever they can. It got me thinking – I might need help some day. You never know."

Some day is quite a ways away. Right now, Rohne is as sharp as a tack, continuing to help people in whatever way she can.

"I do volunteer work at church making quilts for Lutheran World Relief," she said.

Rohne always has been active in church work – she taught Sunday school for 65 years.

Another job title Rohne held for quite some time was that of homemaker.

"Just a housewife is all I’ve ever been," she said. "When I got married, I got to be a homemaker. I took care of my family."

Since becoming a widow in 1977, Rohne has been taking care of another family.

Jann Schroeder, resource development director at St. Mark’s, explained what makes Rohne such a good match for her job.

"I think her sincere regard for residents and genuine respect has made it a perfect fit," Schroeder said.

She said that Rohne is "willing to commit time," something that is hard to find in many individuals.

Activities director Karen Schrom elaborated on Rohne’s personality and attitude toward work.

"She’s very self-involved – she’s got a lot of motivation," Schrom said. "I enjoy that. I like not having to be behind someone telling them what to do."

Schrom said Rohne is "aware of her responsibilities and carries them out well."

Her many years of attention to responsibility have not gone unnoticed by St. Mark’s staff.

Rohne received the Distinguished Service Award in 1996, an honor Schroeder called "the biggest and highest award given to a volunteer."

Schroeder explained that recipients of the award are judged not only on hours worked, but also what they have done. Rohne worked as a volunteer in the auxiliary, as well as independently.

Rohne’s energy and enthusiasm for her job will keep her going for some time yet, as she made it clear she’s in no hurry to stop what she’s doing.

"I enjoy doing these pockets for St. Mark’s," she said. "I guess I’ll keep doing them for as long as I can."