February Volunteer(s) of the Month: Mike Ireland & Mike Wuest

April 12th, 2017

At Ronald McDonald House Charities of Madison, volunteers are the heart and soul of everything we do. They are a truly amazing group of caring, gifted people who bring a diverse range of talent to our House. RMHC-Madison volunteers selflessly offer their time, energy, and kindness to the House and the families we serve. This is true of these shift mates who have been chosen as February’s Volunteer(s) of the Month. Mike and Mike are at the House each Wednesday ready and willing to tackle any job House Director Tara has for them. Nothing is too big or too small for the Mikes! Congratulations Mike and Mike on being February’s Volunteer(s) of the Month! We are very lucky to have you!

How long have you been volunteering at RMHC-Madison?
Mike Wuest – 3 years or so.
Mike Ireland – 5 years

How did you initially get involved with us?
Mike Wuest – My wife, Julie and I were involved with the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota when we lived there and upon returning to our home state of Wisconsin and settling in Sun Prairie, we were very pleased to have the good fortune of having a Ronald McDonald House in Madison.
Mike Ireland – After retiring I wanted to volunteer some place, but was looking for something a little different than the normal ones we always hear about.  I remembered when RMHC-Madison opened we had donated some things and started thinking about all the good the House does. So, here I am.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering here?
Mike Wuest – Seeing the faces on the kids and sharing their excitement on a trip to the toy room!
Mike Ireland – Besides helping so many families, I love getting to work with so many nice people.  It fascinates me that there are so many genuinely nice folks willing to give time for those they don’t know.

Do you have a favorite memory with RMHC?
Mike Wuest – Way too many special and heartwarming moments to mention, although there is one common and amazing theme every day/every shift… the strength, resilience and courage of children – to which it is my honor to witness and support.
Mike Ireland – Moving the freezer to its new location. We thought we had it totally figured out, only to find out it barely fit the door and it was too heavy to lift. Made for an interesting afternoon.

What types of things have you done while volunteering for RMHC-Madison?
Mike Wuest – maintenance, repair, painting, reorganizing, cleaning, providing van rides, grocery shopping, welcoming/giving tours to families, putting up/taking down Christmas trees, shoveling snow, lawn/yard care…. all which I am fortunate to team up and accomplish with my shift-mate, Mike Ireland. We welcome any and all tasks House Director Tara identifies!
Mike Ireland – I think I will answer rhetorically – what haven’t I done while volunteering.  Every week has a new challenge. I love it!

Tell us something about we don’t know. 
Mike Wuest – Can’t think of anything. I’m pretty much an open book.
Mike Ireland – That I am basically a shy person.

What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a volunteer?
Mike Wuest – It is by far one of the most rewarding opportunities to give back to which I have had the good fortune to offer my services as a volunteer. I easily get more back than I give.
Mike Ireland – Come to the House, meet the staff and volunteers, take a tour, and you will be hooked.