WAVE (Wisconsin Award for Volunteer Excellence) Award  


The Wisconsin Awards for Volunteer Excellence (WAVE) program was established by Partners of WHA, Inc. to recognize outstanding contributions of organized volunteer programs, and is patterned after the AHA (American Hospital Association) HAVE (Hospital Award for Volunteer Excellence) Awards program.


The WAVE Award recognizes volunteer programs whose work directly furthers the mission of the institution they serve.  One WAVE Award may be given to a program in each of the four categories:

• Community Service

• Fundraising

• In-Service

• Community Outreach and/or Collaboration


2021 WAVE Brochure (PDF)

In one package, submit one (1) original and four (4) collated copies of the following by June 4, 2021:

  • Completed nomination form

  • Completed responses to each of the five application questions

  2021 WAVE Committee  

Chair -

Jeanne Tatro, North Central District


Committee -


Sandy Gobler, West Central District

Leigh Ann Larson, WHA Liaison

Linda Nandory, Western District

Diane Schmidt, Southern District

No awards given for 2020 because of the pandemic.


Category: Community Service Programs
Winning Program: “Partners Emergency Department Service Project” Winning Organization: Partners of Beaver Dam Community Hospital, Beaver Dam

With an estimated 30,000 emergency department visits per year, it was determined there needed to be a program which provided clothing to patients who were in need. It was also determined that children needed to be comforted. The Partners have provided new clothing to patients and comfort teddy bears to children since 2002. A number of fundraisers assist in providing funds to continue this work. One of the goals of the program is to promote patient satisfaction. By providing new clothing to those in need, patients leave the emergency department feeling positive and with a sense of dignity. By providing teddy bears, children leave with a greater sense of comfort.

Category: In-service Hospital Volunteer Programs
Winning Program: “Hospital Elder Life Program” Winning Organization: Auxiliary of Howard Young Medical Center, Woodruff

Delirium is the most prevalent complication for the hospitalized older adult. The primary goal of the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) is to prevent episodes of acute confusion while in the hospital. Volunteers are essential to providing the additional support needed to help patients at risk remain oriented and alert throughout their hospitalization. Volunteers provide companionship, assistance with meals, a variety of social activities, as well as simple conversation which can aide in stimulating the mind. Since the inception of the program, delirium rates, average length of hospital stay, fall rates and readmission rates have all gone down.

Category: Fundraising Programs
Winning Program: “Volunteer Community Brat Fry" Winning Organization: Aspirus Medford Hospital & Clinics, Aspirus Volunteers, Medford

Knowing that budgets are tightening in health care, this event was created and is held annually to raise important funding for programs and activities associated with the volunteer program. Funds raised allow the volunteer membership (a.k.a. Auxiliary) to use their creativety to develop new, fun, and innovative programming for the benefit of patients and residents who reside at the healthcare center. Working in conjunction with the local V.F.W., the fundraiser has moved to a highly visible location which has resulted in increased profits. One of the most important aspects of this program is it provides consistent revenue for a growing and expanding volunteer program.


Category: Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Programs
Winning Program: "First Aid & Trauma Kits" Winning Organization: Partners of Marshfield Medical Center - Ladysmith, Ladysmith

With voluntary ambulance services and available EMT staff on the decline in Rusk County, the Partners of Marshfield Medical Center – Ladysmith donated First Aid and Trauma kits to police squad cars in the city of Ladysmith and the Rusk County Sheriff’s Department. Responding officers are now equipped with the essentials to provide needed life-saving medical attention until the EMTs arrive. The kits include gloves, bandages, gauze, trauma scissors, dressings and Quikclot. They are valued at $100/each and various fundraising efforts help fund the program. Law enforcement providers are now better equipped to handle medical emergencies in any area of the rural county without compromising patient care.

Community Service Program: “Babysitting Clinic”, Partners of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, Chippewa Falls

In-service Hospital Volunteer Program: “Patient Comfort Hand Massage” , SSM Health-St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary, Madison

Fundraising Program: “Snowflake Bazaar", Aurora West Allis Medical Center Women's Auxiliary

Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Program: "Healthy Kids Club", Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington Volunteers

Community Service Program: “Dignity Quilts”, River Falls Area Hospital Auxiliary, River Falls

In-service Hospital Volunteer Program: “Discharge with Dignity”, Ascension Good Samaritan Volunteers, Merrill

Fundraising Program: “Rag Cutters", Flambeau Hospital Auxiliary, Park Falls

Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Program: "Santa’s Workshop-Enchantment in the Park", Partners of St. Joseph’s Hospital, West Bend

St. Croix Regional Medical Center Volunteer Partners, St. Croix Falls - Little Free Library

St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary, Madison - No One Dies Alone

Volunteers in Partnership with Community Memorial Hospital, Menomonee Falls - Weekly Cookie Sale

Partners of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, Chippewa Falls - Community Garden

Aspirus - Wausau - We Honor Veterans

Mercy Health System - Janesville - Emergency Department Volunteers

HSHS St. Vincent Hospital - Green Bay - Fashions from the Heart

HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital - Chippewa Falls - Dementia Friendly Business Initiative


Beaver Dam - Craft Fair

Menominee Falls - Community Garden

Janesville, Mercy Hospital Volunteers - Onocology Volunteer Program

La Crosse, Gundersen Partners - Alzheimer's Care Givers Kit

.For more ideas from winning projects, you can read the programs from 2013, 2012, and 2011

On April 29, 2019 at noon, Partners hosted an informational call regarding the WAVE and the Best of the Best Award nominations.  Unfortunately, due to a technical error, the call was cut off. 

To hear the recording, click here.

The remainder of the answer that was cut off was to list organizations that were included in the collaboration.

Thank you to Joyce Breen, WAVE Chair, and Arletta Trejo, Best of the Best Chair, for sharing their expertise.