Rooted in Love

May 30th, 2023 | Our Families

The sun was brightly shining on Sunday, May 21 as friends and families gathered in Hope Park to honor our amazing volunteers and celebrate a remarkable milestone—the 30th anniversary of our organization’s founding. The theme for the year, “Rooted in Love,” acknowledges those who have given us strong roots and continue to help us grow. Friends from across the decades gathered to share in this special afternoon.

During the ceremony, three pillars of RMHC -Madison—volunteers, a guest family and a legacy family, were recognized for their dedication to moving our mission forward.

-30+ Year Volunteers: Jill Foley, Judy Siegert, Linda Andersen & Judy Davis

-Guest Family: Hailie’s Hope | The Smith Family

-Legacy Family: Dave and Kris Lenz Family

Friends and families were able to hear some impactful words and reflections on RMHC-Madison from Jill Foley, Judy Siegert, Becki Smith and Dave Lenz. Jill Foley shared a beautiful story with the crowd that showed even the smallest gestures make a big impact. “Many of you know Lucy and her family from Australia. When Lucy was younger, maybe 8 or 9 years old, we gave [Lucy] an official name tag, and when it was previously allowed, she would sit behind the desk with me. Her smile was priceless as she helped us with little jobs.”

Another 30+ year volunteer, Judy Siegert, recollected a story where she met a family near the holidays that was staying at the House—their 17 year old son had just been diagnosed with liver cancer. She shared that, “Instances like this—there are many, put your life in perspective and any worries I had about holiday preparations quickly diminished.”

Linda Andersen and Judy Davis were also recognized for 30 years of volunteer service. Although the two were unable to join the celebration, their efforts over the years have not gone unnoticed and are greatly appreciated!

Guest Family Keeps on Giving

Becki and Phillip Smith arrived at the House with their daughter, Hailie, when she was a small child. Their family spent 16 years in and out of the House until she passed.  Yet their journey with RMHC was far from over.  Becki, Phillip and their entire family have dedicated themselves to toy drives, making meals at the House in honor of Hailie’s birthday and a very extra special Christmas dinner for guest families each year.  Additionally, during the renovation, they fundraised to purchase one of the most beloved items here at the House — the camper in the Playroom.  Their extended family, including nieces and nephews, were all on hand to accept the Heart & Soul Guest Family award.

A Long-standing Legacy

When the House was first established, the newly formed board understood RMHC operated much like a boutique hotel, so who better to advise than Dave Lenz, founder of North Central Group (NCG) Hospitality. Over the decades, Dave was a board member and staunch ambassador for RMHC-Madison. Yet his commitment went above and beyond. With their involvement in the hotel industry, NCG offers meaningful discounts so RMHC can host families when the House is full, rarely needing to turn anyone away.  Thirty years later, the entire Lenz Family continues to be actively involved in our mission. Their pride and dedication were clearly evident as nearly every child and grandchild stood by to accept the Heart & Soul Legacy Family award.

To cap-off the celebration, an Eastern red bud tree, known for its heart-shaped leaves and brilliant rosy, pink flowers when in full-bloom, was planted in Hope Park to represent the next generations who will help to continue to root our mission in love.

As we celebrate this milestone and usher in the next 30 years of Ronald McDonald House-Madison, the families we serve will always remain at the forefront of everything that we do—Keeping Families Together® because together is the best place to be.

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