Bloomer (WQOW)- You can imagine that the transition from living independently to a nursing home might be a difficult one. Mark Bischel frequents the halls of an area care center, his goal is to draw a smile from the residents he calls family.
We've often heard it said: Actions speak louder than words.
"I saw Mark doing something and I thought, I really have to nominate this man for the Jefferson Award," recalls Judy Anderson, activity director at the Hetzel Care Center in Bloomer. "He was sitting quietly by the bedside of a dying resident. Praying the rosary. He had not been asked to do this, he just did it."
Mark Bischel is a familiar face at the care center. During his 6 years as a volunteer he's faithfully turned up to help organize mass and communion, and you can almost always find him traveling up and down the halls, visiting with residents.
"I look at the residents as family, some are so lonely," explains Mark. "And some don't have family, or they do have family, but they may be far away and I could maybe fill in the void"
Judy says Mark spends between 7 and 8 hours a week volunteering at the care center. "It really is quite unique," she adds. "It's not so much what Mark does, or how much time he spends here, it's the heart he has when he interacts with these frail and elderly people. He truly has a gift."
Born and raised in Bloomer Mark could tell you pretty much anything you'd like to know about the town's history. It's an interest he shares with residents at the home, each week hosting a social hour called "Mark Chats"
"What inspired me for volunteering initially was when my mother was at Lakeside in Chippewa Falls," explains Mark. "She was a resident there and I thought, someday when I retire this is something that I'd like to do, volunteer."
They'll talk about the horses pulling the plows--- I mean doing the field work with horses.