30 Jul Lulu Lehmann – Faces of RMHC
When our House first opened in 1983, it was only the 48th Ronald McDonald House to come into existence. Today, there are more than 350 chapters operating all across the globe! We often marvel at just how innovative and ahead of the times the original members of our founding board were when they saw a need and envisioned housing for families traveling to town with sick children. The same year our House opened also served as a milestone for our devoted volunteer, Lulu Lehmann: That was the year she graduated from nursing school!
” I visited a few RMHouses around the state as a child protective service worker and regional CPS nurse for a while. The Amarillo Ronald McDonald House was always the most cozy and beautiful.”
Lulu truly earns the “above and beyond” award for her service with RMHC. Not only is she known to stay past the end of a shift to comfort and console families, but she has also brought food and supplies to her shifts if she noticed items were running low. Lulu enjoys cooking for others, serving, helping…she is a true caregiver at heart!
Through her own resilience and perseverance, Lulu has been able to draw on personal life experiences to best meet the needs of our families. Many of our families have immigrated from other countries and do not speak English. Lulu herself is an immigrant who did not speak English until she started school in 1st grade. She then would help translate for her parents when language barriers would present themselves, particularly related to medical topics. Lulu also knows firsthand what it is like to experience a lengthy a hospital stay. She’s lived it herself.
“My first year in college I was hospitalized with Gillian Barre for a month. It was very difficult for my mom. She still had 3 kids at home and traveled from Fritch to the hospital as often as she could. At that time Amarillo seemed on the other side of the world. We also had no insurance. I learned first hand how devastating a healthcare crisis could be on families.”
Lulu has called Canyon, TX her home since 1991. She retired from her career in nursing 6 years ago, which is when she started serving in the Ronald McDonald Family Room. While she may not be working in the clinical setting as a full-time career at this point, she is still able to put many of those occupational skills to use in the Family Room, where the environment is ever-changing.
“[I enjoy]hearing the lullaby play when a new baby is born! And occasionally helping a family that’s in a severe crisis just make it through the evening… Car wrecks when a pregnant mom was involved, or help a non-English speaking family when mom is at wit’s end to understand why the nurses are not happy with her. You never know what challenge will be presented. ”
Lulu also continues to keep busy putting her “helping profession” skills to use by working as a caregiver for a kid three days each week. Since the child has not been able to attend school due to the pandemic, she has been helping at home and even making some masks. One of her favorite “after work treats” has become the mocha frappes at McDonald’s…which especially make for a refreshing summer outing during these toasty July days!
Lulu has also enjoyed fostering cats, and after a change to Zoom meetings for a bit has returned to attending yoga classes in person! She has also recently made the Netflix discovery, and has enjoyed watching historical movies (especially with it being the 75th anniversary of D-Day) and specials on WWII…she says it makes her feel grateful for all that she has, even during a global pandemic.
With the Family Room, temporarily closed, Lulu has missed the peaceful routine of helping, chatting and laughing with the great volunteers and families! Once the pandemic has passed, she looks forward to taking a long-planned trip back to her homeland to visit family she just doesn’t get to see too often, including some youngsters and even an aunt and uncle in their 80s who she cannot wait to hug.
Lulu is inspired to give back and help others as a way of paying it forward, reflecting on the life she has been able to create for herself as a child immigrant to the United States.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life here in America. Lots of help from great teachers, friends and neighbors.”
We are super grateful to have Lulu as a part of Team RMHC, and appreciate the many blessings she has poured on our families these past 6 years. Tomorrow happens to be a very special day for Lulu as she will be celebrating her birthday. Happiest of birthdays, Lulu :-)!