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 five categories:

  • Community Service

  • Fundraising

  • In-Service

  • Community Outreach and/or Collaboration

  • Public Policy

  2022 WAVE Committee  

Chair - Ramona Hornischer


Committee -  Sue Kumlien

                      Leigh Ann Larson

                      Linda Nandory

                      Mary Rose Willi

The original application and four complete copies must be submitted to the WHA office and postmarked

on or before: Friday, June 3

2021 Wave Award Winners

Category: Community Service Programs

Winning Program: “First Breath Gift Basket”   

Winning Organization: Friends of Vernon Memorial Healthcare, Viroqua

Embracing the hospital's mission of “so much care,” the Friends of Vernon Memorial Hospital (VMH) decided to update their gift to obstetrics patients and their families. The friends researched and found a pattern for a matching set that includes a baby burp cloth and bib. The Friends organization provides the fabric, fiberfill, snaps or Velcro and seamstresses. The friends purchase all the materials out of their budget, choose the pattern and sew the bib and burp cloth to be added to the welcome basket that is presented to the families of the newborns at VMH. This project engages more volunteers as the pattern is more user friendly and adds that individualized touch of caring that VMH embraces through the Friends program. 


Category: In-service Hospital Volunteer Programs
Winning Program: “Switch’n It Up”         
Winning Organization:  Aspirus Volunteers of Medford
Aspirus Volunteers of the Medford Country Gardens senior facility implemented a three-week summer program that engages the residents in arts and crafts projects. A teen volunteer researched the therapeutic benefits of arts and group activities for Alzheimer and dementia residents and proposed the program. The volunteer organization embraced the proposal. The program is completely organized by the volunteers as they fund, plan and run the program that occurs twice a day for three weeks. A schedule is drawn up and the volunteers personally invite the residents to join in the hour-long activity.  Aspirus Volunteers of Medford also aid the residents through the activity and escort them back to their room when completed. Volunteers also take the time to do all the cleanup and displaying of the art or craft that was created.    

2021 WAVE.Kay Ludwig.JPG

Category: Fundraising Programs

Winning Program: “RE TAG IT"         

Winning Organization: Mercyhealth Association of Volunteers, Janesville

The volunteers at Mercyhealth donate to the well-being of the community and hospital through the RE TAG IT Thrift Shop. The shop has been in existence since 1983 but needed an upgrade due to the lack of space and a decline in sales. This inspired the volunteers to move the shop and create a more appealing space. The new shop is in a more spacious and convenient location that is on a high-traffic street. These changes have maximized sales. Donations are accepted from the community. The cochair volunteers do the scheduling and manage the shop. All workers are volunteers. From 2014 to 2020 over $370,000 has been donated to Mercyhealth. Some of the recipients include the House of Mercy Homeless Center, Mercy Health Hospital and Trauma Center Hospitality House and various charities including church programs.

MercyHealth WAVE.jpg

Category: Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Programs

Winning Program: "Hunger Care Program"        

Winning Organization: Volunteers of Prairie Ridge Health, Columbus

Volunteers of Prairie Ridge Health partnered with the Second Harvest Food Bank to provide healthy foods to people in the hospital service area. Each month 25 pounds of proteins, produce, dairy and pantry staples along with recipes are given to individuals that have screened positively for food insecurity. The annual Lights of Love program earmarks monies for the Hunger Care Program. The volunteers do the fundraising, packaging of produce and organizing the pick-up day. They also load the food into the vehicles to ensure the families receive the support they need. The drive-through pick up is discretely located and guarantees the recipients do not need to leave their vehicles.

WAVE Award 2021.jpg
No awards given for 2020 because of the pandemic.

Community Service Program: “Partners Emergency Department Service Project”, Partners of Beaver Dam Community Hospital, Beaver In-service Hospital Volunteer Program: “Hospital Elder Life Program”, Auxiliary of Howard Young Medical Center, Woodruff

Fundraising Program: “Volunteer Community Brat Fry" , Aspirus Medford Hospital & Clinics, Aspirus Volunteers, Medford
Community Outreach and/or Collaboration Program: "First Aid & Trauma Kits", Partners of Marshfield Medical Center - Ladysmith, Ladysmith

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.