May 22, 2012
(320) 251-2700, ext. 74980
Winners of the 2012 Spirit of Women Awards
ST. CLOUD, Minn. – As part of the CentraCare Health Foundation, the Spirit of Caring Award has long recognized the power of individuals working together to address health-related issues. Now the Spirit of Women Awards carries this further by recognizing individuals who make an impact on people's lives.
Three local women recently were selected as regional winners by St. Cloud Hospital through the Spirit of Women Awards Program. Celebrating the spirit of women, these awards recognize the talent and dedication of those who make their communities healthier, safer, and more inspirational places to live. Nominees are selected by a Regional Selection Committee coordinated by St. Cloud Hospital. All regional winners will receive recognition from CentraCare Health Foundation and St. Cloud Hospital, along with a $1,000 award to further their commitment to their community. In addition, national winners will receive national recognition courtesy of Spirit of Women.
Regional recipients include:
Jennifer Fleegel - Young Person Role Model (Ages 14-20)
Maxine Olson - Community Hero (At least 21 years of age)
Kathleen Rieke - Healthcare Hero (Clinical professional)
Young Person Role Model
Mature, enthusiastic and passionate about serving others are but a few of 18-year-old Jennifer Fleegel’s characteristics. Jennifer is a leader, a scholar and a 3-sport athlete. A senior at Cathedral High School, St. Cloud, with a 3.986 GPA, Jennifer will enter the nursing program at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., this fall. She looks forward to one day using her medical skills to improve the lives of people in Colombia or Africa, places where she already has made an impact through school-sponsored service trips. In 2010, Jennifer spent a month in Colombia. In 2011, she spent a month in Africa. These trips opened Jennifer’s eyes to unimaginable poverty, to education deficits, to life without portable water. Other accomplishments include: Reviving her school’s Students Against Drunk Driving chapter; teaching religion classes for youngsters in her parish; leading the Junior Optimist Club at Cathedral High School; assisting with the Catholic Charities Thanksgiving food drive; and helping organize a spa day for local nursing home residents.
"And like a good neighbor" ... Maxine Olson of Foley has been there. Like the slogan in the ad for State Farm Insurance, Maxine has been there for her neighbors, the Foley community and beyond. From the time she moved there in 1955 with her late husband, Burton, Maxine has spent countless hours volunteering for numerous organizations. Spanning nearly six decades of service, Maxine's volunteer career began with 12 years as the chair of the Benton County Combined Charities. Maxine has been active in her church choir for more than 45 years. She taught Sunday and Vacation Bible School for 18 years, was Sunday School Superintendent for 15 years, and has held a position on church boards including Ruling Elder, Deacon and Trustee. Maxine was involved early on with Elder Network, a St. Cloud Hospital program, to provide companionship to the elderly. Her attitude of love and compassion extends to today through her involvement with C.R.O.S.S. (Christians Reaching Out in Social Service). Through C.R.O.S.S., she assisted with a complete renovation of three buildings to help expand the local food shelf and clothes distribution for low-income families. Maxine was active on the Board for Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity for 11 years, chairing the Family Selection Committee eight years for families applying for a new home. One of Maxine's favorite "jobs" is volunteering with C.A.R.E. (Community, Action, Respecting, Elders), an organization that helps people aged 60 and older live independently in their homes to prevent early placement in a nursing home. This service has been invaluable as the numbers of elderly aging in their homes has steadily increased. Through her strong leadership, C.A.R.E. has remained financially stable and was able to assist 149 seniors this past year. She provides a listening ear to people through friendly home visits and phone calls. She also drives them to appointments in nearby St. Cloud. At 81 years old, Maxine states she has never had an accident in her life!
Neurologist Kathleen Rieke, MD, with CentraCare Clinic, is the epitome of what a physician should be. The passion and motivation for her work is fueled by desire to make a difference in people's lives, ensuring they have access to the care and knowledge they need to lead normal lives, free from the stigma associated with epilepsy. While in medical school, Dr. Rieke supported her mother through the deaths of three grandparents and learned the impact physicians make. Dr. Rieke states, "These experiences motivate me as a physician; it is not always the goal to cure but you need to help them (the families and patients) through the process." Dr. Rieke chooses to volunteer in her community through multiple organizations despite her large practice, stating now is her turn to give back. Dr. Rieke is active at the state and regional level for the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota. She provides leadership, develops and presents education for providers and the public on how to live a normal life with epilepsy. One example is a project called Get Seizure Smart where the public, patients and families attend a social event and can learn about topics related to living with seizures. Get Seizure Smart reaches thousands of Minnesotans each year. Dr. Rieke is the physician champion for the organ donation taskforce at St. Cloud Hospital, attending regular meetings and consulting on difficult declaration of brain death cases. Dr. Rieke's focus on women's health sets her apart from other neurologists. She has taken a special interest in the care of women who have seizures and made it her practice focus. Through caring for women with epilepsy and educating other physicians about the relationship of hormones and their impact on all stages of a woman's life including infertility, she feels she can make a difference in their lives. She utilizes the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry so the impact of seizure medications taken during pregnancy can continue to be studied. Dr. Rieke also is passionate about memory care. As the physician liaison for the Clinic without Walls, she developed an algorithm for staff to utilize to connect patients and their families with services available in the community. It is a primary care focused tool and has been shown to positively impact the cost of care and keep patients out of the nursing home.
Learn more about Spirit of Women
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