Eau Claire (WQOW) - It's said, that after awhile, you mirror the traits of those you spend the most time with. Well, when you see Pat Rumpel, Kelsey the golden retriever usually isn't far behind.
The pair has a soft step, incredibly kind eyes, and each has a knack for sniffing out someone who might need a visitor. "I actually started in 1993 taking dogs to facilities," recalled Pat. "My mom was a patient over at a nursing home. Then after my mom went home they asked me to come back again with the puppy and so we did. And that's how it kind of all started."
Since then she's logged hundreds of visits to elementary schools, hospitals, nursing homes and airports. Kelsey has been by her side though much of it. The pair recently marked their 350th visit together. Those who know Pat say it would be impossible to count the lives this retired nurse has touched.
"She and her therapy dogs have given over, well over, 1,100 hours of service to this hospital," said Mary Pengra, the director of volunteer services at Sacred Heart Hospital HSHS. "That's pretty amazing." And that number will continue to grow. Pat has another golden retriever, Chloe, who is training to become a therapy dog.
Congratulations to Pat! If you know a volunteer that deserves to be recognized with the Jefferson Award click here to nominate them today.