Five years ago, Lorraine Kofler was walking through her neighborhood when she stopped by Kathy’s House to see what it was about. The next week she started volunteering and hasn’t looked back.
Kathy’s House is a nonprofit organization that provides housing for patients and caregivers visiting Milwaukee-area hospitals.
Lorraine comes in at least two days a week. She checks guests in and out of the house, answers the phones and talks to guests. She does office work, cooks, cleans, does laundry and fundraises.
“‘Volunteer extraordinaire’ is how we describe Lorraine,” said Patty Metropulos, executive director of Kathy’s House. “She has a graciousness and kindness to her that she extends to everyone at Kathy’s House – the staff, the guests, even the delivery people.”
Kofler is 85 years old. She has involved her entire family, the residents of the San Camillo retirement community where she lives, and her alumni group from St. Michael Parish School to be part of the Kathy’s House community.
This Thanksgiving, Kofler and her entire family, along with other volunteers, prepared dinner for all the guests at Kathy’s House.
“I talk to my family and friends about Kathy’s House all the time,” Kofler said. “And when they hear how much it means to me, they get involved.”
In addition to her day-to-day volunteer work, Kofler volunteers at every Kathy’s House event, including the gala, golf outing, hosting an annual paper drive at San Camillo, and assisting guests during arts and crafts night.
“I love being there, especially helping people who are going through a tough time,” she said. “We work really hard. We laugh, and cry sometimes, too, when a guest receives bad news. I’m sometimes exhausted when I go home, but it is a good exhaustion.”
Kofler is an integral part in creating the “community” that is Kathy’s house, Metropulos said.
“Lorraine adds caring concern and just the right touch to any situation she is in and to every person at Kathy’s House, making her one of our favorite people on Earth, as well as one of our favorite volunteers and a community treasure,” she added.