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Agrace HospiceCare News

Veteran to Veteran: Volunteer Makes Special Connection While Delivering Meal to Janesville Patient

On Friday, November 11th, Tom Cornelius was given a special assignment.  It was Veteran’s Day, and Tom—an Army veteran and Agrace volunteer—was asked to deliver a Celebration of Life meal to hospice patient and fellow veteran living in Janesville.

Tom recently celebrated nine years volunteering at Agrace, making him a veteran volunteer, but he’s also a military veteran. Born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, Tom was drafted into the military on his 20th birthday.  He served in the Army from 1953-1955 during the Korean War.  When asked about his military experience he said, “It was a commitment, a privilege, a good experience and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”

Tom CorneliusAfter Tom’s service, he met his first wife in college and then moved to Janesville where he has resided for more than 50 years. It is his strong desire to help people that led Tom to hospice volunteering. He has been delivering Celebration of Life meals to Agrace patients in Rock County since 2007.

The food for these special meals is graciously donated by Ding a Ling and Texas Roadhouse restaurants in Janesville and is, in Tom’s words, “First class food!” When the food is ready, Tom picks it up and delivers it to patients and families.  “I feel privileged to have done this for several years now.  People really appreciate it, too.  It sure makes them happy.”

For his Veteran’s Day volunteering “mission,” Agrace staff provided Tom a veteran’s certificate and honorary pins to present to Nels Quam, a Navy veteran living in Janesville. During the visit, Tom learned that the two veterans have more than Agrace in common. Not only are Tom and Nels the same age, they also served in the same conflict at the same time, and they share the same birthday.  “How ironic!” Tom exclaimed.

Nels’ wife and daughter were present during Tom’s visit and wanted to share this photo to show the pure joy this brief interaction brought to these veterans on Veterans Day. Nels said, “Thank you for the meal.  It really helped and it was really good to meet Tom.  Real nice guy.  Helpful and friendly.”

2016 Best Place to Work: Agrace is Committed to Care, Diversity

As reported by Madison Magazine
Of the companies that answered questions on their diversity efforts, Agrace had the most notable practices.

When Lynne Myers became president and CEO of Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care in 2012, one of the first things she noticed was that the staff, volunteers and people served by Agrace lacked diversity. She quickly assembled a team to address it.

“One of the things that we know is not all communities view hospice the same way,” says Myers, whose nonprofit, community-based health care agency provides end-of-life care and related services to patients and families in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. She knew that if Agrace’s workforce didn’t match the makeup of the broader community, she says, “then we were never going to have a patient and family base that reflects that diversity.”

In 2014, Agrace incorporated diversity efforts into its long-range strategic plan. A key component was to create a position charged with reaching out to diverse and underserved communities while helping to diversify the organization’s staff and bank of volunteers. Brenda Gonzalez, diversity manager at Agrace, oversees the scholarship programs for high school seniors and nontraditional students to become certified nursing assistants and emergency medical technicians. Much of her job is working with community organizations and businesses to collaborate on efforts to build bridges to underserved populations. “There’s a complete commitment internally to what we do,” Gonzalez says, adding that the diversity plan includes cultural competency training for staff.

Myers says Agrace is making progress. In 2014, diverse employees made up 6 percent of its workforce compared with 8.3 percent in 2016. In 2014, 1.1 percent of Agrace’s patient population was diverse compared with 3.5 percent in 2016. 

Mounted Patrol lifts spirits with visit to Agrace patients

As reported by Fox 47

As reported by WKOW

FITCHBURG (WKOW) -- Patients at a hospice facility in the Madison area are getting some unique care.

Members of the Madison Police Department's Mounted Patrol Unit took some time off work Wednesday afternoon to visit patients and their families at Agrace Hospicecare in Fitchburg.

The interaction can be uplifting for people who are coping with the stresses of end of life care.

"There's something really healing about animals in general. Therapy animals exist for a reason," says Officer Sarah McLaughlin, with the Mounted Patrol. "The horses are very good at reading energy and people that are excited, yet quiet and calm, really allow the horse to shine. The horse has a healing power about themselves and I think that people can feel that when the horses come to visit them and it just brightens their day."

"I think it's wonderful," says Beverly McCartney, whose husband is staying at Agrace right now. "I can't say anything .. only praise for everything they do."

Mounted patrol officers make regular appearances in the area, in between patrolling the downtown area and working large events in the city.

Agrace to Host RN Career Fair August 25 in Baraboo

Agrace to Host RN Career Fair August 25
People interested in volunteering for Agrace also welcome

BARABOO, Wis. – Agrace is hosting an RN Career Fair on Thursday, August 25, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care, 1670 South Blvd., Baraboo. Agrace is a nonprofit health care agency that has provided end-of-life care and related services to people in Wisconsin communities for nearly 40 years.

Agrace is in need of evening and night nurses. All current opportunities are benefited positions and are eligible for a $4,000 bonus. It is not necessary to pre-register to attend the career fair. Nurses who bring their resume can have same-day interviews. More information about specific openings is available at

Agrace cares for people of all ages, including children, and honors the cultural and spiritual practices of all people. Agrace complements its professional hospice care with specially trained local volunteers, many of whom visit patients to provide companionship in their homes, in nursing or assisted living facilities.

Agrace’s Volunteer Services staff will also be on hand at the career fair to assist anyone who wants to start the process of becoming a volunteer. Agrace needs volunteers for many different roles, including specialized services such as therapy pet visits, hand massages, cosmetology, music and art. Prospective volunteers who cannot attend can contact Agrace’s Volunteer Services Team at (608) 327-7163 or visit

Agrace President & CEO Lynne Myers Named TEC August Spotlight Member

Source: The Executive Committee (TEC)

Name: Lynne Myers

Company: Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care

Industry: Healthcare

Employees: 610

Family: 3 Beautiful Children 

TEC 15 member since 2015

Give TEC a brief history/overview of your company: Agrace is the largest non-profit hospice in Wisconsin.  We are located in Madison, and have additional sites in Janesville, Baraboo, and Rockford, IL.  Hospice care is available for those with a terminal illness whose life expectancy is 6 months or less.  Agrace provides support for a patients emotional, social, and spiritual needs and enables them to be comfortable and free of pain.  The focus of hospice is on quality of life, not curative treatments.  Palliative care focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness.  It is provided at any stage in a serious illness and often accompanies curative treatment.

On any given day, Agrace is caring for more than 720 hospice patients and 50 palliative care patients.  Most all of the patients served by Agrace are cared for in their own homes.

What one piece of leadership advice would you offer to others. Be sure to really listen to the people who work for you.  You’re the boss.  No matter what, your ideas and opinions are going to ‘get on the table.’  Be sure to sit back and listen long enough to let your teams’ ideas get verbalized.  Members of your team may be a bit skittish to voice contrary opinions once you’ve shared your perspective.

What are your interests outside of work. I do some volunteer work and enjoy working in the yard.  However, I find much of my free time absorbed with transporting my children hither and yond.

How did you learn about TEC. A relatively new TEC chair was forming a new group in Madison, WI.  He reached out to me.

What has TEC done for you personally and/or professionally. I have enjoyed getting to know the leaders of other important organizations in our community.  Getting the perspective of leaders in different industries and different sized companies has been very interesting.

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