Heroes rise to the occasion, and at Meramec Bluffs, one of their great heroes is a resident whose volunteer efforts make her more than a hero. She is a legend. In fact she is the LeadingAge Missouri 2022 Volunteer of the Year!
The LeadingAge Missouri Awards Program recognizes individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions in the fields of aging, health care, housing, and community-based services. The award is presented to a volunteer who has performed significant volunteer service to clients or residents and has demonstrated unusual commitment to preserve the dignity, well-being and independence of clients or members.
Through her relentless dedication to others, no chore is too small, and no burden is too great, for Mary Anne. The mission statement of Lutheran Senior Services is ‘older adults living life to the fullest.’ To achieve this, it takes many team players. Mary Anne Wehrle is the true definition of a volunteer team player.
Residents and team members at Meramec Bluffs have become accustomed to see Mary Anne doing something for someone, just about every day. She is integral to every special function at Meramec Bluffs, including volunteering at the Employee Appreciation event each summer, safety fairs, the staff parties for Halloween and Christmas, and leading the recent 20th anniversary celebration. She also serves as the Mayor of the Meramec Bluffs Town Hall Association.
Her dedication to others is nothing short of inspiring. When asked how she finds the time she states, “I guess I think I ought to do it as the Meramec Bluffs folks work to make my life good.” One of Mary Anne’s sayings around Meramec Bluffs is, “’once a nurse, always a nurse.’ Her background as a registered nurse and the retired CNO of VA Administration came to be especially helpful during the pandemic.
Most recently, Mary Anne organized and executed the major undertaking of coordinating the vaccination of independent living residents who wanted a COVID vaccine, including the booster vaccines. This involved many teams of nurses and administrators, each one taking a floor in the independent living areas. The massive effort to vaccinate more than 350 residents began at 8am, was done by lunch, and was executed with precision and grace.
Leading with her servant heart, the quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. is best applied when describing Mary Anne. He once said life’s most persistent and urgent question is, WHAT are you doing for others? Mary Ann Wehrle has never stopped answering that question. She is a true blessing to all that are fortunate enough to cross paths with her on their life journey.