St. Gabriel’s Health volunteer couriers deliver

Photo provided Volunteer couriers provide an essential delivery service for CHI St. Gabriel’s Health.  In just three months, the 11 couriers recorded 5,500 miles. Pictured are (from left): Ed Tamm, Celia Degroot, Rose Mary Mattson and Donald Zenner. Couriers not pictured: Charlene Jelinski, Jerry Jelinski, John Sallden, Marianne Doble, Mary Lou Drong, Ed Drong and Greg Lenz.

Photo provided
Volunteer couriers provide an essential delivery service for CHI St. Gabriel’s Health. In just three months, the 11 couriers recorded 5,500 miles. Pictured are (from left): Ed Tamm, Celia Degroot, Rose Mary Mattson and Donald Zenner. Couriers not pictured: Charlene Jelinski, Jerry Jelinski, John Sallden, Marianne Doble, Mary Lou Drong, Ed Drong and Greg Lenz.

Helping others kindles happiness. More than 300 volunteers at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health have discovered how great it feels to make a difference in the lives of others and the community.
For Ed Tamm, the importance of service to others was instilled early in his life. “I grew up on a farm and helping others was just what we did,” Tamm said. “That’s how we survived.”
For the past 25 years, Tamm has shared his generous spirit by volunteering as a courier for CHI St. Gabriel’s Health.
Largely invisible to the general public as they deliver in their own unbranded vehicles, the couriers provide an essential service. In just three months, the 11 couriers who volunteer at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health recorded 5,500 miles, delivering lab specimens and supplies between clinics and labs in St. Cloud, Brainerd and the Twin Cities metro area.
“We really depend on the volunteers,” said Rebecca Brinkman, lab supervisor. “They courier time-sensitive samples to St. Cloud when instruments are down or for tests we can’t run and pick up blood products when we are running low. It is truly a benefit to both St. Gabriel’s and the patients we serve.”
Tamm fondly recalls several courier adventures during his years of volunteering.
“Late one evening, around 10 p.m., I received a call for an emergency lab run to St. Cloud. I no sooner got back and another lab delivery trip to St. Cloud was needed. I made a total of three trips to St. Cloud that night. I didn’t mind it at all because I knew I was helping someone in need. It felt good to be able to help,” he said.
Couriers travel both day and night, regardless of the weather. Through the years, there have been many trips made when the weather was less than ideal. Tamm related about a time he was called in after a Red Cross Blood Drive. The blood collected was unable to be flown to St. Paul because of a snowstorm.
“I had to drive all the way to St. Paul with a trunk full of blood,” Tamm said. “It was an adventure.”
“It feels good to do something that is making a difference and to know that I might be helping to save someone’s life,” Tamm said.
For Tamm, volunteering as a courier hasn’t just been about giving. He enjoys the flexibility of being a courier and developing many positive relationships along the way.
“I enjoy meeting and getting to know people,” he says. “They always look forward to seeing me. I also like to give them a hard time.”
Tamm’s passion and generosity reflects the prevailing attitude among the volunteers at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health.
“Our volunteers have so many positive qualities,” said Linda Johnson, manager of Volunteer Services/Lifeline. “They genuinely care about others and want to be of service. So often, volunteers share how they receive much more than they give. Volunteerism provides a sense of purpose and happiness.”
For more information about volunteer opportunities at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health, contact Johnson at (320) 631-5432 or [email protected]