The Energizer Bunny of the Volunteer World – Pat Cipriani

Pat Cipriani

Pat Cipriani, a resident of the Timbers of Shorewood, was a nurse for 60 years, and she says she never, ever tired of it. It was a fulltime career, but in her thirties, she started volunteering, and it became a passion.

When the Joliet Diocese began trips to Kenya, the Philippines, and Bolivia, Pat volunteered with other nurses, physicians, and surgeons. The mission was to care for the poor in various parts of the world. The trips were extremely gratifying.

Pat also volunteered in Kenya. She worked in a 10-bed woman’s post operative unit. Many of the volunteers in Bolivia worked at a new, small 12-bed hospital built with funds from the Diocese.

The Diocese soon began construction trips such as building a school for Navajo Indigenous children near the Arizona mountains. She had lots of experience in nursing, but in Arizona, she learned tool safety and how to hang insulation. She was with people who also enjoyed volunteerism and recalls laughing and working a lot.

Once she retired, she continued her volunteerism. For years, she has volunteered at the Will / Grundy Medical Clinic located in Joliet. When the clinic opened, it was only one of four in the country. It was the prototype for similar clinics that followed. The clinic sees about 2,000 patients a year and helps prevent emergency visits to hospitals. It also offers free medical care to adults without health insurance. Volunteer physicians and other generous healthcare workers provide services.

She also volunteers at the Joliet Area Community Hospice now known as Lightways Hospice and Serious Illness Care. Construction began in 2001, and the first patient was admitted in 2004. It was the first free-standing hospice home in Illinois. In addition, Lightways offers bereavement services and a summer camp for children who have experienced loss.

Pat decided to move from her Joliet home of 25 years, and she chose the Timbers of Shorewood as her residence. She looks forward to eating in the restaurant each day. She sits with different people and enjoys getting to know her fellow residents.

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